For some reason the translators of the Ante-Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series overlooked many biblical commentaries of the early church. However, patristic scholars over the past few decades have started to fill this gap. A first ever English translation of Jerome’s (d. 420) Commentary on Matthew has recently been published by The Catholic University of America Press in their Fathers of the Church series. If you want to see how a very early commentator of the church interpreted the Gospel of Matthew, this is a great addition for your library. Since I translated many of Jerome’s comments on Matthew 24 in The Early Church and the End of the World, I am curious to see how our translations compare.
The Seven Seals of the Apocalypse: Medieval Texts in Translation” was recently published by Medieval Institute Publications at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Designed as a supplementary text for classroom use in medieval studies programs, and part of a medieval biblical commentary series, The Seven Seals contains fifteen translations of portions of Apocalypse commentaries from 500 to 1500 AD, showing how Christians in the middle ages interpreted Revelation 5-8.
I found much variety of interpretation on the seven seals by these biblical scholars of the middle ages. Some of them said that the opening of the seals corresponded to seven events in the life of Jesus which had been “sealed up” (concealed) in prophecies of the Old Testament. Others saw the seals as descriptions of life in the Church between the first and second comings of Christ. Still others viewed the seals as markers in a grand blueprint of history or as symbols of judgments associated with the Second Coming.
The Seven Seals includes translated texts from notables like Caesarius of Arles, who convened the Council of Orange in 529, Cassiodorus whose library at Viviarum preserved so many of the ancient texts we have today, Alcuin of York, the secretary and minister of education under the emperor Charlemagne, who is responsible for how we today write our upper and lower case letters, and Joachim of Fiore, the famous abbot from Calabria whom many regarded as a prophet in the time of the crusades.
If you are interested in how Revelation has been interpreted in the history of Christianity, The Seven Seals is a nice sampling of texts, heretofore unavailable in English translation, at a very reasonable price. I hope you enjoy it.
I have recently started reading Guido Stucco’s The Colors of Grace: Medieval Kaleidoscopic Views of Grace and Predestination. It picks up where his last book, Not Without Us, left off. I just finished Chapter 2 which gives the views on grace and predestination of historical characters like Pope Gregory, Isidore of Seville, and Pope Hadrian. If the theology of grace and predestination is a subject of interest to you, I recommend picking up a copy of this book tracing the history of these topics in the early middle ages. Pax tecum, Frank.