- General Editor: Thomas C. Oden
- Category: Reference, Commentary
- Publisher: InterVarsity press (September 2010)
- Binding: CD-ROM
- ISBN: 978-0-8308-2480-9
- Review Date: 2/6/2011 by Shaun Tabatt
- Rating: Highly recommended
If you have followed the reference works published by InterVarsity Press over the past few years, you have no doubt noticed that they are making a concerted effort to expose a whole new generation to the writings of the church fathers. One series that has been an important part of this resurgence is the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture edited by Thomas C. Oden. My first encounters with the early volumes of this series was during my college days. You could often find one or more of these volumes open on my desk as a trusted source for my exegesis papers and other research. The twenty nine volumes making up the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture span both the Old and New Testaments as well as the Apocrypha. Given the time and language barrier that exists between today’s reader and the church fathers, there certainly are gaps that need to filled in as we attempt to learn at the feet of the fathers. The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture does an exemplary job of helping to bridge that gap, making the exegesis of the church fathers readily accessible to today’s pastors, scholars, and bible students.
There was clearly a lot of planning and forethought put into the organization and layout of this commentary set. As I say with any reference work, be sure to read all of the introductory material in order maximize your use of the resource. One important feature to note is that the scriptural text is divided into periocopes. Each pericope is followed by an overview, providing a succinct summary of the patristic commentary that follows. Besides the actual meat of the commentary, there are also many useful features to be found at the close of each volume. Depending on your level of research and interest, you may well be able to make use of some or all of the following:
- Appendix: Early Christian Writers and the Documents Cited
- Biographical Sketches
- Timeline of Writers of the Patristic Period
- Bibliography of works in the Original Languages
- Bibliography of works in English Translations
- Author/Writings Index
- Subject Index
- Scripture Index
As a hopeless bibliophile, I often struggle with the question of whether to buy reference works electronically or in print. If shelf space and budget were both limitless, I would suggest doing both. The reality of the situation is that this typically is not the case. The full twenty nine volume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture set retails for $1450.00 in print and $385.00 on CD-ROM. The significant cost savings alone is a good argument for picking this set up on CD-ROM. If there is a particular volume that relates to a focused area of research or study, you may want to consider purchasing that particular volume in print in addition to the CD-ROM version. For me, that is especially true when it is a volume I want to read from cover to cover. Besides the cost savings, a second major incentive for purchasing this and other reference works electronically is the ease with which you can search. In the case of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture set, it is available for both LOGOS Bible Software and Accordance. The third major incentive for the CD-ROM edition is the ease with which you can create footnotes and bibliographic entries for the references you are copying into your papers. I’m an avid user of LOGOS Bible Software and this feature alone has revolutionized my writing. Having never used Accordance, I am unable to speak to whether or not they offer the same level of convenience when creating footnotes or bibliographic entries. My suspicion is that it is equally as helpful.
Regardless of whether you choose to go with the print or CD-ROM version of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, either one will be a welcome addition to your library. If you are looking for a wonderful birthday, Christmas, or graduation gift, every pastor, scholar, and Bible student would be greatly blessed by the opportunity to add this resources to their collection.
General Editor Information:
Thomas C. Oden (Ph.D., Yale University) formerly Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, is now director of the Center for Early African Christianity, at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He is the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and the Ancient Christian Doctrine series as well as the author of Classic Christianity, a revision of his three-volume systematic theology.
This CD-ROM was provided by InterVarsity Press for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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