Ancient Christian Commentary vs Catena Aurea Commentary

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True North | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Apr 27 2016 10:18 AM

Is there much a difference between ACC and CAC sets when it comes to the Gospels, besides date of publications?


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Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 27 2016 11:19 AM

Yes Catena Aurea is just the Gospels so far I know

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Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 27 2016 12:25 PM


Is there much a difference between ACC and CAC sets when it comes to the Gospels, besides date of publications?


I don't think John understood what you were asking. 

They seem to be the same basic format, but different content. See screen shot of John 1:14. The ACC may be the better bet, IMHO, because you can have the entire NT in one series as you build your library, and the translations of the original writers (Augustine, Cyril etc) seems to be easier to read and a bit more modern in the ACC than in the CA

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 27 2016 1:39 PM

The Catena Aurea is a Medieval work limited to the Gospels with passages more directly focused on (often smaller) units of text with (often) shorter excerpts. The Ancient Christian Commentary is a contemporary work covering the the Bible with larger more broadly focused texts.

For Luke 1:5-7


1:5–7 Time, Persons and Place

BORN FOR PROPHECY, MURDERED FOR TRUTH. MAXIMUS OF TURIN: I do not know what is the most important thing that we should preach—that he [John the Baptist] was wonderfully born or more wonderfully slain—for he was born as a prophecy and murdered for truth. By his birth he announced the coming of the Savior, and by his death he condemned the incest of Herod.1 This holy and righteous man, who was born in an uncommon way as the result of a promise, merited from God that he should depart this world by an uncommon death—that he should by confessing the Lord lay aside his body, which he had received as a gift from the Lord. Therefore John did everything by the will of God, since he was born and died for the sake of God’s work. SERMON 5.1–2.2

JOHN’S PRIESTLY BACKGROUND. AMBROSE: Holy Scripture tells us that not only the character of those who are praiseworthy but also their parents must be praised, so that the transmitted inheritance of immaculate purity, as it were, in those whom we wish to praise, may be exalted. What other intention is there in this passage of the holy Evangelist, except that St. John the Baptist be renowned for his parents, his wonders, his duty and his passion? Thus Hannah, the mother of St. Samuel,3 is praised. Thus Isaac received from his parents nobility of piety, which he handed down to his descendants. Therefore the priest Zechariah is not only a priest but also of the course of Abijah, that is, a noble among his wife’s ancestors. “And his wife,” it says, “was of the daughters of Aaron.” So St. John’s nobility was handed down not only from his parents but also from his ancestors—not exalted through worldly power but venerable through the religious succession. For the forerunner of Christ ought to have such ancestors, that he be seen to preach a faith in his Lord’s advent that is not suddenly conceived but received from his ancestors and imparted by the very law of nature. EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 1.15–16.4

ELIZABETH’S BARRENNESS. ORIGEN: Consider why many holy women in the Scriptures are said to have been barren, as Sarah herself,5 and now Rebecca.6 Also Rachel, Israel’s beloved, was barren.7 Hannah also, the mother of Samuel, is recorded to have been barren.8 Also in the Gospels, Elizabeth is said to have been barren. In all these instances this term is used, for after sterility they all gave birth to a holy person. HOMILIES ON GENESIS 12.1.9

THE APPEARANCE IN THE TEMPLE. BEDE: We must note that the angel bore witness to the grace about which he had come to give the good news—not only by the power of the words which he brought forward but also by the point in time and the location of the place in which he appeared. He appeared at the time when the priest was making an offering to express the fact that he was proclaiming the coming of the true and eternal high priest, who would be the true sacrificial offering for the salvation of the world. He stood beside the altar of incense to teach that he had come as the herald of a new covenant. There were two altars in the temple,10 which expressed the two covenants in the church. The first, the altar of burnt offerings, which was plated with bronze and was situated in front of the doors of the temple,11 was for the offering up of victims and sacrifices. It signified the fleshly-minded worshipers of the old covenant. Then there was the altar of incense, which was covered with gold12 and set near the entrance of the Holy of Holies, and was used to burn fragrant gums. This signified the interior and more perfect grace of the new covenant and its worshipers. HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 2.19.13

JOHN HERALDS THE END OF OLD TESTAMENT WORSHIP. EPHREM THE SYRIAN: John, herald of the Lord of the right, was announced from the right of the altar. It was at the time of worship that he was announced to show he was the end of the former worship. It was in the middle of the sanctuary that Zechariah became dumb, to show that the mysteries of the sanctuary had become silent, for he who was to fulfill these mysteries had come. Because Zechariah did not believe that his wife’s barrenness had been healed, he was bound in his speech. COMMENTARY ON TATIAN’S DIATESSARON 1.10.14

Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 7–8.

Catena Aurea:


5. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

CHRYSOSTOM. (noc occ.) St. Luke commences the history of his Gospel with Zacharias and the birth of John; relating one marvellous event before another, the less before the greater. For since a virgin was about to become a mother, it had been fore-ordained by grace that the old should previously conceive. He fixes the time, when he says, In the days of Herod, and in the following words adds his rank, king of Judæa. (in Matt. cap. 2.). There was another Herod, who killed John; he was tetrarch, whereas this one was king.

BEDE. (in Luc. Evang.) Now the time of Herod, i. e. of a foreign king, bears witness to our Lord’s coming, for it had been foretold, The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come. (Gen. 49:10.) For from the time that our fathers came out of Egypt, they were governed by judges of their own nation, until the Prophet Samuel; and then by kings, until the carrying away to Babylon. But after the return from Babylon, the chief power was in the hands of priests, until the time of Hyrcanus, who was both king and high priest. He was slain by Herod, after which the government of the kingdom was delivered over by the command of Augustus Cæsar to this same Herod, a foreigner, in whose thirty-first year, according to the prophecy we have mentioned, Shiloh came.

AMBROSE. Divine Scripture teaches us with respect to those whom we commemorate, that not only the characters of the men themselves, but of their parents also, ought to be praised, that they might be distinguished by an inheritance, as it were, handed down to them of unspotted purity. Now not only from his parents, but also from his ancestors, St. John derives his illustrious descent, a descent not exalted by secular power, but venerable from its sanctity. Complete then is that praise which comprehends birth, character, office, actions, and judgments.

The office was that of the Priesthood, as it is said, A certain Priest of the name of Zacharias.

BEDE. (in Homil. in vigil. S. Joh. Bap.) For John was allotted a Priestly tribe, that he might with the more authority herald forth a change of priesthood.

AMBROSE. His birth is implied in the mention made of his ancestors. Of the course of Abia, i. e. of high rank among the noblest families.

BEDE. There were Princes of the Sanctuary or High Priests, both of the sons of Eleazar and the sons of Thamar, whose courses according to their respective services when they entered into the House of God David divided into twenty-four lots, of which the family of Abia (from which Zacharias was descended) obtained the eighth lot. (1 Chron. 24.) But it was not without meaning that the first preacher of the new covenant was born with the rights of the eighth lot; because as the old Covenant is often expressed by the seventh number on account of the Sabbath, so frequently is the new Covenant by the eighth, because of the sacrament of our Lord’s or our resurrection.

THEOPHYLACT. Wishing to shew also that John was legally of Priestly descent, Luke adds, And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth, for it was not permitted to the Jews to take a wife from any other tribe but their own. Elisabeth by interpretation signifies “rest,” Zacharias “the remembrance of the land.”

BEDE. John was born of just parents, that so he might the more boldly give precepts of justice to the people, which he had not learnt as novelties, but had received by right of inheritance from his ancestors. Hence it follows, And they were both just before God.

AMBROSE. Here their whole character is comprehended in their justice, but it is well said before God, for a man by affecting a popular good-will might seem just to me, but not be just before God, if that justice instead of springing from simpleness of heart, was a mere pretence carried on by flattery. Perfect then is the praise, “that a man is just before God;” for he only is perfect who is approved by Him who cannot be deceived. St. Luke comprehends the action in the commandment, the doing justice in the justification. Hence it follows, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord. For when we obey the command of heaven we walk in the commandments of the Lord, when we observe justice we seem to possess the justification of the Lord. But to be “blameless” we must “provide things honest, not only before God, but also before men”; (Prov. 3:4.) there is no blame when both motive and action are alike good, but a too austere righteousness often provokes censure. A righteous act may also be done unrighteously, as when a man out of ostentation gives largely to the poor, which is not without just cause of blame. It follows, And they had no son, because Elisabeth was barren.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ex Hom. in Gen. 49.) Not only Elisabeth, but the wives of the Patriarchs also, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, were barren, which was counted a disgrace among the ancients. Not that their barrenness was the effect of sin, since all were just and virtuous, but ordained rather for your benefit, that when you saw a virgin giving birth to the Lord, you might not be faithless, or perplexing your mind with respect to the womb of the barren.

THEOPHYLACT. And that you might learn that the law of God seeketh not a bodily increase of sons but a spiritual, both were far advanced, not only in the body but in the Spirit, “making ascents in their heartb,” having their life as the day not as the night, and walking honestly as in the day. (Ps. 84:6, 1 Thess. 5:5.)

Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Luke, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 3 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1843), 9–12.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 27 2016 2:42 PM

The difference is ACC is more expensive but has more content 😉👌

Posts 3754
True North | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 28 2016 2:38 AM

Perfect. Just what I wanted to know.

Thanks to all.


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Gordon Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 28 2016 8:08 AM

Hi Milkman,

I haven't used CA but I have the ACCS and like it a lot for what it is.

You could order both products, use and evaluate them for a few weeks, and return one (or both) within 30 days for a refund.

Posts 3754
True North | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 28 2016 9:13 AM

Hey Gordon, good point. I keep forgetting about the 30 day trial thing. Might explain why I have some books/resources that I hardly use, at least for now.


Gordon Jones:

Hi Milkman,

I haven't used CA but I have the ACCS and like it a lot for what it is.

You could order both products, use and evaluate them for a few weeks, and return one (or both) within 30 days for a refund.

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