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Commentary on Matthew

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St. Jerome (347–420) has been considered the pre-eminent scriptural commentator among the Latin Church Fathers. His Commentary on Matthew, written in 398 and profoundly influential in the West, appears here for the first time in English translation. Jerome covers the entire text of Matthew’s gospel by means of brief explanatory comments that clarify the text literally and historically. Although he himself resided in Palestine for forty years, Jerome often relies on Origen and Josephus for local information and traditions. His stated aim is to offer a streamlined and concise exegesis that avoids excessive spiritual interpretation.

Jerome depends on the works of a series of antecedent commentators, both Greek and Latin, the most important of whom is Origen, yet he avoids the extremes in Origen’s allegorical interpretations. His polemic against theological opponents is a prominent thrust of his exegetical comments. The Arians, the Gnostics, and the Helvidians are among his most important targets. Against Arius, Jerome stresses that the Son did not lack omniscience. Against Marcion and Mani, Jerome holds that Jesus was a real human being, with flesh and bones, and that men become sons of God by their own free choice, not by the nature with which they are born. Against Helvidius, Jerome defends the perpetual virginity of Mary.

In this commentary, Jerome calls attention to the activity of the Trinity as a principal unifying theme of the Gospel of Matthew. He also stresses that exertions are necessary for the Christian to attain eternal salvation; that free will is a reality; that human beings cooperate with divine grace; and that it is possible to obtain merit during the earthly life.

For The Fathers of the Church series in its entirety, see Fathers of the Church Series (136 vols.).

  • Quality translation of Jerome’s detailed commentary
  • A seminal text that has influenced subsequent commentaries
  • One of 136 published volumes in a well-respected series on the Church Fathers

Top Highlights

“It seems to me192 that the workers of the first hour are Samuel, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist, who can say with the Psalmist: ‘From my mother’s womb you are my God.’193 But the workers of the third hour are those who began to serve God from adolescence.194 The ones of the sixth hour are those who took up Christ’s yoke at a mature age.195 Those of the ninth hour are the ones who are already declining with the feebleness of age. Finally, those of the eleventh hour are the ones who are extremely old. And yet, all equally receive the wage, though their labor varied.” (Page 223)

“Now, lest anyone put piety before religion, he adds something, saying: ‘He who loves father or mother more than me.’ In the Song of Songs we read: ‘Order love in me.’407 This order is necessary in all our affections. After God, love your father, love your mother, love your children. But if the necessity comes that love for parents and children are pitted against the love of God, and if it is impossible for both to be preserved, then hatred for one’s own is piety toward God.” (Page 125)

“So then, first we must hear, then we must understand, and after understanding we must render the fruits of the instruction and produce either one hundredfold fruit, or sixtyfold, or thirtyfold. We have spoken about these things in more detail in the book Against Jovinian,159 and now we touch on it briefly. We attribute the one hundredfold fruit to the virgins, the sixtyfold to widows and the continent, the thirtyfold to holy matrimony.” (Page 156)

“Ahimelek did not hesitate to give the bread, thinking that it is better to deliver the men from the danger of starvation than to offer sacrifice to God. For the prophet says: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’66 Indeed, the salvation of men is an appeasing sacrifice to God.” (Pages 138–139)


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    Digital list price: $39.99
    Save $9.00 (22%)