Greek Readers and Thomism: Four Books to Watch Out For

Every so often I’ll probably post on new and upcoming books that I find useful, interesting, and important. Here are four to start off this trend.

1. Septuagina: A Reader’s Edition

It takes an immense amount of effort to learn to read (and/or speak) a new language. It also takes a lot of effort to maintain proficiency in the language.

There’s a reader’s edition of the Septuagint (LXX) coming out next month, and it’s currently on sale. (It will also be available from other sellers.) A “readers edition” of a text like this contains the text in the body of the page and provides footnotes for any difficult or unfamiliar words that students of the language may not have learned yet. You can get a great glimpse of what’s going on with these two volumes at the blog dedicated to them. There is also an interview with the authors about the Reader’s Edition.

I can think of at least two reasons why the student of the New Testament should get these volumes. For one, the New Testament frequently uses (via quotation or allusion) the LXX. Knowing the LXX will help the student of the New Testament know it even better. For another, having a true mastery and affinity with a language requires reading widely and reading well in that language. With a reader’s edition of the LXX on its way, this is a great opportunity to learn even more, and continue to retain, Greek.

(And while we’re on the subject of Greek readers, the UBS reader for the New Testament is also great.)

2. A Greek Reader’s Apostolic Fathers — Alan S. Bandy

The second reason I just gave for picking up the Greek reader’s LXX also applies to this newly-released volume by Alan S. Bandy.

There’s another reason that the student of Greek should get this volume. I’ll let John Wesley do the talking for me:

Can any who spend several years in those seats of learning, be excused, if they do not add to that of the languages and sciences, the knowledge of the Fathers? [sic] the most authentic commentators on Scripture, as being both nearest the fountain, and eminently endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was given. It will be easily perceived, I speak chiefly of those who wrote before the Council of Nice [sic]. But who would not likewise desire to have some acquaintance with those that followed them with St. Chrysostom, Basil, Jerome, Austin; and, above all, the man of a broken heart, Ephraim Syrus?

Furthermore, he asks the clergymen he is addressing to consider:

Am I acquainted with the Fathers; at least with those venerable men who lived in the earliest ages of the Church? Have I read over and over the golden remains of Clemens Romanus, of Ignatius and Polycarp; and have I given one reading, at least, to the works of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Cyprian?

Essentially, Wesley argues that anybody who wants to be an educated and responsible Christian leader should wish to become acquainted with the Church Fathers. And there are now excellent volumes becoming available to help students read the Fathers in their original languages.

3. Summa Contra Gentiles

The Aquinas Institute is releasing a new edition of Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles this December. Aquinas is simply one of the most important Christian theologians and philosophers in history. The Summa Contra Gentiles is a sustained defense of classical theism and Christian theology, and a text that I think any student of theology should read at least once.

I currently have the entire Summa Theologiae published by the Aquinas Institute, so I can tell you what to expect in December.

The hardcover binding of these volumes is excellent, and the page quality is also great. The books that the Aquinas Institute produces are also a great value, in my opinion.

Also, their books are Latin-English bilingual editions. This means that if you know Latin, you can read it alongside the English. Don’t know Latin? No problem. It’s there too.

Of course, both the Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae are available for free elsewhere. But dear student of theology, how will you pass that along to your children? You really won’t regret getting these volumes in print from the Aquinas Institute.

4. Aristotle’s Revenge — Edward Feser

In a recent blog post, Edward Feser stated the full title of his upcoming book on the philosophy of nature and said it will be released by the end of this year or early next year. Like his excellent Scholastic Metaphysics (a book I highly recommend), this book will be published by Editiones Scholasticae.

The full title of the book is Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science. The title sure sounds difficult, but if this book is anything like Scholastic Metaphysics (and his other books, for that matter), I’m sure that Feser will guide us through the concepts with his standard clarity and readability.

I’ve read many of Feser’s books, and I find myself revisiting every single one of them. He’s an excellent author, and I’m looking forward to reading this new volume immediately.

By the way, this book is already (by faith, of course) on the top of my Christmas list.

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