The Catholic University of America Press

Commentary on the Twelve Prophets

Theodore of Mopsuestia
Translated by Robert C. Hill

The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (Patristic series),  Vol. 108

Cloth 978-0-8132-0108-5 $49.95
March 2004 Out of Print
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November 2013 In Print Add to Cart
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April 2010 In Print Add to Cart

Friend of John Chrysostom and pupil of Diodore of Tarsus, the founder of the method of exegesis practiced in Antioch, Theodore was appointed bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia in 392. His pedigree thus seems impeccable, as was his early reputation as a commentator on the Bible, which earned him the sobriquet "The Interpreter." More than one modern scholar has been prepared to class Theodore as "the foremost exponent of Antiochene exegesis." Yet not long after his death in 428--coincidentally, but significantly, the year Nestorius acceded to the see of Constantinople--Theodore became the object of intemperate criticism by the likes of Cyril of Alexandria for his Christological views. His works were condemned by the fifth ecumenical council of 553, and only the Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, here appearing in English for the first time, survives entirely in Greek.

Does Theodore deserve either or both of these extreme assessments? Why did his adversaries allow this one work to survive the flames untouched? Is it because, as has been said in facile repetition, "it contains nothing of Christological import"? The truth emerging from a reading of the Commentary is that both views are wide of the mark. Theodore does not entertain a Christological interpretation of verse after verse in the manner of his Alexandrian contemporary Didymus, but he situates these twelve prophetic figures from the eighth to the sixth century of Israel's history within an overall Christological perspective. True to his school's accent on historia, however, he prefers to look for a factual basis to their prophecy (a problem in the case of Jonah), is less sensitive to the moving imagery of a Hosea or a Micah than modern readers would appreciate, and is unfamiliar with the genre of apocalyptic, which appears especially in Joel and Zechariah. Theodoret of Cyrus in the decades after Theodore's death had his works open before him as he commented on prophets, just as modern commentators will also appreciate his work.


Robert C. Hill is retired from the faculties at the University of Sydney and the Australian Catholic University and continues to serve as an adjunct professor at the Australian Catholic University. He has translated many volumes in the Fathers of the Church Series, particularly those of the Old Testament commentaries of the Antioch Fathers, including John Chrysostom's Commentary on Genesis and Theodoret's Commentary on the Psalms. His translations of the Psalms commentaries of Theodore and Diodore are forthcoming.


"With this translation of Theodore's work on the prophets, Hill continues to make invaluable contributions to our familiarity with and appreciation of the Greek Church Fathers' biblical commentaries. . . . Hill's translation makes accessible this critical example of Theodore's reading of the Bible and, for those interested in the history of the LXX, provides an intriguing glimpse of a local version of the Greek biblical text." -- C. Thomas McCollough, Religious Studies Review

"The translation is clear, readable, and, if spot checks can be presumed typical, accurate. Hill also provides an extended introduction that provides, on the whole, balanced and insightful comments that profit one's evaluation of Theodore's and the general Antiochene approach to biblical interpretation. . . . [T]his is a valuable work for libraries and for interested patristic and Scripture scholars. It enlarges our knowledge of how a leading Antiochene biblical scholar of the late fourth and early fifth centuries interpreted Scripture." -- Frederick McLeod, Journal of Early Christian Studies

Product Details

Pages:xiii, 435 pages

Dimensions:5.25x8.25 inches


CIP Information: 2003012928/ BR60.F3 T47/ 270 s--dc21


1. Bible. O.T. Minor Prophets--Commentaries