The Library of Early Christianity will be a permanent enterprise that publishes one new volume approximately every other year. The Library will publish texts in the original ancient languages of both East and West - Greek, Latin, Arabic, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Georgian - accompanied by contemporary English translations printed on the facing pages. In order to make the texts more accessible to the nonspecialist and to aid readers in comprehending the thought of the influential thinkers of the early church, each volume will include an introduction, notes, and a bibliography. Shortly before his death (ca. 460), as his health was failing, Theodoret decided to undertake a monumental project of exegesis. In the more than two decades of his episcopacy, he had commented on both the prophets and the sapiential literature of the "Hebrew Scriptures". Now he would expound the historical books. For his commentary on the Octateuch, he adopted the format of question and answer. This device allowed the expositor to focus attention on particularly challenging passages that could give rise to misunderstanding.
Long experience had taught him that "careless reading of holy Scripture is the cause of error among ordinary people." Intimately acquainted with every detail of the text, well-informed about contemporary Judaism, and steeped in the works of previous interpreters, he makes his way through a massive body of text with concision, a sure sense for the significant and the controversial, and a thoughtful moderation respectful of the accomplishments of Alexandrian, as well as Antiochene, biblical scholarship.
Editorial Director John F. Petruccione is associate professor in the Department of Greek and Latin at the Catholic University of America.