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Cyril of Alexandria Commentary on John

New Cyril Commentary on John

Feb. 26, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We are pleased to announce the release of the first volume of Cyril of Alexandria's Commentary on John, translated by Dr. David Maxwell of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and edited by Dr. Joel Elowsky, CEAC Research Director and Assoc. Professor of Theology at Concordia University Wisconsin. A second volume is scheduled to be released later this year or the beginning of next year.

The translation replaces the earlier work of EB Pusey from the 19th century which was difficult to use at many points. The present translation is in up to date English, while also seeking to preserve the florid style of Cyril, as much as was possible while still making it intelligible to the 21st century reader. Cyril's commentary on John is an important component of 5th century commentary, demonstrating how the Gospel of John was a key instrument in addressing the Christological heresies of the day such as Arianism and Eunomianism.

Cyril describes his exegetical approach as dogmatic exegesis. And indeed one of the first things one notices in Cyril's commentary is that he has organized his commentary according to various dogmatic topics, or loci, of theology. The books into which he divides the commentary do not necessarily follow the chapter divisions later added on to John. Rather, the structure of his commentary is organized according to Cyril's purpose of instruction. It is Maxwell's contention that Cyril's reason for such an approach was that he was training the teachers of his dioceses, the catechists, to be able to answer the Christological challenges of the day using the Gospel of John as their textbook. Thus various book and chapter headings are titled according to how they answer the objections of the heretics of his day.

Cyril's commentary is a fascinating contribution to the history of exegesis and also furthers our understanding of his engagement with the Christological controversies of his day. InterVarsity Press is to be commended for its publishing of this commentary in its Ancient Christian Texts Series. If you would like to read more about this commentary or order it for your library, please follow this link: Cyril Commentary on John.

Happy reading.