Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: The Four Gospels: Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, Volume 1

The Four Gospels: Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, Volume 1
by Archbishop Averky (Taushev)

This text was written by Archbishop Averky for use at Holy Trinity Seminary, and has been used to train seminarians there ever since. But now, with the publication of the text in English translation, this indispensable text is available to the English speaking Orthodox world.

This text has some similarities to the text "The Life and Times of Jesus, the Messiah" in that it covers the contexts of the Gospels, chronologically, and shows how the four Gospels complement one another. But this text also provides a window for English speakers on pre-revolutionary Russian Biblical scholarship, and also brings the commentaries of the Fathers to bear on the subject. Archbishop Averky shows a familiarity with Protestant biblical scholarship, as well.

One could read the commentary cover to cover simply to gain a better understanding of the Gospels, but it also can be used as the starting point for the study of any given passage of the Gospels. Particularly when studying the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), looking at parallel passages can provide deeper insights into a passage. This text helps connect those parallels, and helps one understand how these parallels should be understood together, through the perspective of Holy Tradition.

It is a text that would benefit any pious laymen, but which should be a go to reference for Orthodox clergy. I look forward to seeing the subsequent volumes in this series published as well.