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Theodore of Mopsuestia: Commentary on Psalms 1-81
Robert C. Hill
The Psalms, along with the Gospels, were the staple diet of early Christians eager to develop their spiritual life. From the school of Antioch we are fortunate to have at least partial commentaries on the Psalms from its four major figures, including Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia in the early fifth century and later regarded as “The Interpreter” by the Syriac church. A work of his early career, this Psalms commentary shows Theodore under the influence of his master Diodore in adopting a historical interpretation, referring individual psalms to David’s life, later kings of Israel, Assyrians, and Babylonians, but rarely to Christ. This commentary illustrates the typical hermeneutical strengths and weaknesses of Antiochene interpretation. Biblical and patristic scholars in a range of disciplines will be pleased to have this significant work available from “The Interpreter.”
Robert C. Hill,
Honorary Fellow and adjunct professor at Australian Catholic University, has translated many of the Old Testament commentaries of the Antiochene Fathers and written on their exegetical, hermeneutical, and theological features. He is the author of a number of works, including
Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on Daniel
Diodore of Tarsus: Commentary on Psalms 1–51,
both available from the SBL.
“Combining the scarce Latin-Greek critical text with a facing-page English translation, this ambitious production of the Commentary on the Psalms by a youthful Theodore of Mopsuestia represents a huge asset for both scholars and students. Robert C. Hill’s fluid rendering of the Latin and Greek derives from translation skills that have been honed for a quarter-century, and his introduction to Theodore and his commentary is a model of judicious scholarship, clarity, and economy of prose.”
—John L. Thompson, Professor of Historical Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, and author of
Writing the Wrongs: Women of the Old Testament among Biblical Commentators from Philo through the Reformation
“Theodore of Mopsuestia’s commentary shows that it is possible for Christians to expound the Psalms without being supersessionists. Contrary to the then-prevailing patristic custom of seeing Christ in almost every sentence, Theodore interprets the Psalms critically in their historical context. It is a delight now to have, for the first time, an English translation of all that is extant of Theodore’s exegetically significant commentary. The translation by Robert Hill is conveniently printed alongside Devreesse’s critical edition of the text. Robert Hill and the editors are to be congratulated on producing a long-needed volume that no one interested in serious study of the Psalms should be without.”
—William Tabbernee, Past President, North American Patristics Society
“Theodore’s work on the Psalms treads a third way between the thoroughly Christianizing commentary of some other works of the period and the kind of historical approach to exegesis that became the scholarly norm in modern times, and we are in debt to Robert Hill for providing us with a readable English translation of this fascinating Antiochene commentary and to the Society of Biblical Literature for finding a way of presenting it along with the Greek text, thus bringing to production quite a monumental work. We are also in Dr. Hill’s debt for his characteristically illuminating and forthright introduction to Theodore and his writings.”
—John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
Hardback edition available from Brill Academic Publishers (www.brill.nl)
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