Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews

978-1-58731-126-0c 978-1-58731-127-7p
Cloth $85; Paper $35
Translated by Chrysostom Baer, O. Praem.; Preface by Ralph McInerny, 480 pages, 6" x 9", translator's introductions, outline of Sacred Scripture, prologue, notes, indexes

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Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews

Aquinas, Thomas

In addition to the great theological works, such as the Summa Theologiae, for which he is justly acclaimed, St. Thomas Aquinas commented on much of the New Testament. He found in the Pauline Epistles a comprehensive exposition of the grace of Christ, from treating the Mystical Body itself to guidance for its principal members. As the summit of the Apostle’s doctrine, the Epistle to the Hebrews was a treatment on the Head of the Mystical Body, Christ inasmuch as He is the high priest of the New Testament.

St. Thomas divides Hebrews into a treatment first of the excellence of Christ and then of faith. In the first place, he demonstrates the excellence of Christ over the angels, over Moses, and over the priests of the Old Testament. Accordingly, more reverence is to be given to the New Testament than the Old, and more obedience to Christ than to the priests of old, or even to Moses. Therefore, the faithful, desirous of obtaining the great promises Christ offers, must place their faith in Him alone, for it is by faith that they, as members of the Mystical Body, are united to Christ the Head.

St. Thomas commented on Hebrews in Rome sometime between 1265 and 1268. Its format is what is called a reportatio, the short, simple, and often choppy notes taken by a student. The translation was made from the Marietti edition of the Latin, as the critical Leonine is not yet available, and Marietti paragraph numbering has been maintained for easy reference. The more interested student will find in the footnotes references to parallel places where St. Thomas discusses the same topic in a different context.

This first published translation of St. Thomas’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews presents in simple and clear English the profound yet accessible teachings of the Angelic Doctor. For Scriptural quotations the Douay-Rheims version was used, as it is closer to the Latin St. Thomas used than other modern translations are.

Fr. Chrysostom Baer, a newly ordained priest of the Norbertine Order at St. Michael’s Abbey in Orange County, California, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology from the Angelicum University in Rome.