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By John Henry Parker / 1841–1845/
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This famous commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas is now more accessible than ever! The Catena Aurea (or, Golden Chain) is a compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels and contains passages from over eighty Church Fathers. In this masterpiece, Aquinas seamlessly weaves together extracts from various Fathers to provide a complete commentary on all four Gospels.
It was Pope Urban IV who commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas to bring together the Catena Aurea in a bid to make readily available to the academic public an orthodox patristic commentary on the Gospels. His work manifests an intimate acquaintance with the Fathers of the church and provides an excellent complement to the modern attempts to understand how the fathers read scripture. Corresponding to each of the four Gospel writers, the Catena begins by putting forth the verses to be analyzed and then takes each verse phrase-by-phrase and provides the early Fathers' insights into the passage.
The 8 volumes represents the number of print volumes. Please note that this collection will download as 4 volumes.
Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 in what is now Italy. He entered the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino at the age of five to begin his studies. He was transferred to the University of Naples at the age of sixteen, where he became acquainted with the revival of Aristotle and the Order of the Dominicans. Aquinas went on to study in Cologne in 1244 and Paris in 1245. He then returned to Cologne in 1248, where he became a lecturer.
Aquinas’s career as a theologian took him all over Europe. In addition to regularly lecturing and teaching in cities throughout Europe, Aquinas participated regularly in public life and advised both kings and popes.
Thomas Aquinas died on March 7, 1274 while traveling to the Second Council of Lyons. Fifty years after his death, Pope John XXII proclaimed Aquinas a saint. The First Vatican Council declared Aquinas the “teacher of the church.” In 1879, Pope Leo XII declared the Summa Theologica the best articulation of Catholic doctrine, and Aquinas was made the patron saint of education.
Thomas Aquinas has also profoundly influenced the history of Protestantism. He wrote prolifically on the relationship between faith and reason, as well as the theological and philosophical issues which defined the Reformation.