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Korean Church completes Bible commentary after 17 years

'The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture' books contain Bible interpretation by church fathers

Korean Church completes Bible commentary after 17 years

'The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture' is a collection of 29 volumes containing interpretation of the Bible starting from the second century. (Photo: Catholic Times of Korea)

Published: May 23, 2022 04:23 AM GMT

Updated: May 23, 2022 04:42 PM GMT

A Catholic research team in South Korea has published the first Korean-language Bible commentary after 17 years of work.

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is a vast collection of 29 volumes that contain the interpretation of the Bible’s Old and New Testament by church fathers and Bible scholars, Catholic Times of Korea reported on May 17.

The books have been translated from a series of English-language Bible commentaries published earlier by Drew University in Washington DC, whose research team carefully selected and collected key exegesis from a huge amount of data with the participation of renowned scholars from around the world.

Some 22 theologians, Bible scholars and translators were part of the research team, known by its Latin name, Institutum Patristicum Coreanum (IPC). The books are now available in print and in digital format on Amazon.

The commentaries include the teachings of Christ passed down from the apostles and explanations from church fathers who established the core doctrines of the Church, such as the Trinity and Christology.

Bible commentaries also contribute greatly to the unity of Christianity as they include teachings from before it split into Catholic and Protestant.

“I think the commentary is one of the most beautiful collections of patristic literature to date. It is also a common heritage of Christianity. This will be the basis for the renewal and unity of the Church"

Professor Vincent Choi Won-oh from the Catholic University of Daegu, a member of the research team, said the project was launched after the Korean Church faced a crisis of materials for preaching and theology in the local language in 2000.

“I think the commentary is one of the most beautiful collections of patristic literature to date. It is also a common heritage of Christianity. This will be the basis for the renewal and unity of the Church,” Choi said.

He said the project has accomplished an important task that will not only promote unity among churches in Korea and help clergy to prepare sermons but also assist in laying strong foundations for theology.

Researchers were delighted they were able to publish the collection in the year when the group marks its 20th anniversary.

Father Bernard Jang In-san, president of the research group, explained that they had thought of finishing the task in five years, but it took 17 years due to various reasons.

"In the end, it took more than three times as much as the original plan, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of many people, the series was completed in 17 years"

“I set a goal to publish all the books within five years, but translating and refining texts with context was more difficult than expected, and it was also a big task to finance the huge translation and publication expenses,” Father Jang said.

"In the end, it took more than three times as much as the original plan, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of many people, the series was completed in 17 years."

The priest said the group is thankful to church leaders, Catholic individuals and organizations for showing interest in the project and funding it with generous donations.

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, former archbishop of Seoul, and many others sent donations, while Catholic groups from various parishes participated in fundraising. Meanwhile, Catholic Times weekly covered the research work through a series of articles and reports.   

Simon Ha Seong-su, a senior researcher and chairman of the publication committee, said he feels proud to complete the project that will become a good resource for all Christians.

“I am proud of the fact that all the writings in the collection have been easily refined so that anyone can access the ideas of the church fathers,” he said.

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