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Ancient Christian Texts
Greek Commentaries on Revelation
By Oecumenius and Andrew of Caesarea
Translated by William C. Weinrich
Edited by Thomas C. Oden
The Eastern church gives little evidence of particular interest in the book of Revelation. Oecumenius of Isauria's commentary on the book is the earliest full treatment in Greek and dates only from the early sixth century. Along with Oecumenius's commentary, only that of Andrew of Caesarea (dating from the same era and often summarizing Oecumenius before offering a contrary opinion) and that of Arethas of Caesarea four centuries later provide any significant commentary from within the Greek tradition.
William Weinrich renders a particular service to readers interested in ancient commentary on the Apocalypse by translating in one volume the two early sixth-century commentaries. Because of the two interpreters' often differing understandings, readers are exposed not only to early dialogue on the meaning and significance of the book for the faith and life of the church, but also to breadth of interpretation within the unity of the faith the two shared.
Theodore of Mopsuestia, born in Antioch (c. 350) and a disciple of Diodore of Tarsus, serves as one of the most important exemplars of Antiochene exegesis of his generation. Committed to literal, linguistic, grammatical and historical interpretation, he eschewed allegorical explanations that could not be supported from the text, though he was not averse to typological interpretations of Old Testament texts that were supported by the New.
Regrettably, Theodore was dragged posthumously into the Nestorian controversy, and his works were condemned by the Three Chapters and the Council of Constantinople in 553. As a result many of his theological and exegetical works were lost or destroyed. The original Greek version of his Commentary on the Gospel of John remains only in fragments. This new English translation is based on an early complete Syriac translation dated A.D. 460-465, within forty years of Theodore’s death in 428.
While charges of heterodoxy against Theodore may not be entirely justified, there remains an apparent dualism in his Christology that should be critically viewed in light of the later Chalcedonian formula. With this caution, there still remains much that is valuable for contemporary readers, whether preachers, students or lay people interested in the early church’s understanding of the Gospel of John.
Here for the first time is a complete English translation of this valuable work, ably translated by Marco Conti and edited by Joel C. Elowsky.
Ancient Christian Texts is a series of new translations, most of which are here presented in English for the first time. The series provides contemporary readers with the resources they need to study for themselves the key writings of the early church. The texts represented in the series are full-length commentaries or sermon series based on biblical books or extended scriptural passages.