Catena Aurea – The Gospel Of Saint Mark (Part 1A) By Saint Thomas Aquinas OP (The Angelic Doctor)
The Gospel according to Mark (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον, romanized: Euangélion katà Mârkon), also called the Gospel of Mark, or simply Mark, is the second of the four canonical gospels and of the three synoptic Gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb. There is no miraculous birth or doctrine of divine pre-existence, nor, in the original ending (Mark 16:1-8), any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. He is also the Son of God, but keeps his messianic nature secret, with even his disciples failing to understand him. All this is in keeping with prophecy, which foretold the fate of the messiah as suffering servant. The gospel ends, in its original version, with the discovery of the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and an unheeded instruction to spread the good news of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Most scholars date Mark to c. 66–74 AD, either shortly before or after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. They reject the traditional ascription to Mark the Evangelist, the companion of the Apostle Peter, which probably arose from the desire of early Christians to link the work to an authoritative figure, and believe it to be the work of an author working with various sources including collections of miracle stories, controversy stories, parables, and a passion narrative. It was traditionally placed second, and sometimes fourth, in the Christian canon, as an inferior abridgement of what was regarded as the most important gospel, Matthew. The Church has consequently derived its view of Jesus primarily from Matthew, secondarily from John, and only distantly from Mark.
In the 19th century, Mark came to be seen as the earliest of the four gospels, and as a source used by both Matthew and Luke. The hypothesis of Marcan priority continues to be held by the majority of scholars today, and there is a new recognition of the author as an artist and theologian using a range of literary devices to convey his conception of Jesus as the authoritative yet suffering Son of God.
The Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) presents the commentaries of the greatest theologians (e.g. St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, etc.) of the Church as if they were having a discussion on each verse of the Bible. St. Thomas Aquinas put this opus together from sermons and commentaries on the Gospels composed by over eighty early Church Fathers, providing their insights into each passage. The work shows his intimate acquaintance with the Early Fathers. The work was commissioned by Pope Urban IV, so that everyone could understand the established meaning of the Gospels from the teaching of the early Fathers.
Thomas Aquinas (/əˈkwaɪnəs/; Italian: Tommaso d’Aquino, lit. ’Thomas of Aquino’; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, he is also known within the latter as the Doctor Angelicus, the Doctor Communis, and the Doctor Universalis.[a] The name Aquinas identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino in present-day Lazio, Italy. Among other things, he was a prominent proponent of natural theology and the father of a school of thought (encompassing both theology and philosophy) known as Thomism. He argued that God is the source of both the light of natural reason and the light of faith. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.
Unlike many currents in the Catholic Church of the time, Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle—whom he called “the Philosopher”—and attempted to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity.
His best-known works are the Disputed Questions on Truth (1256–1259), the Summa contra Gentiles (1259–1265), and the unfinished but massively influential Summa Theologica, or Summa Theologiae (1265–1274). His commentaries on Scripture and on Aristotle also form an important part of his body of work. Furthermore, Thomas is distinguished for his eucharistic hymns, which form a part of the church’s liturgy. The Catholic Church honors Thomas Aquinas as a saint and regards him as the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology. In modern times, under papal directives, the study of his works was long used as a core of the required program of study for those seeking ordination as priests or deacons, as well as for those in religious formation and for other students of the sacred disciplines (philosophy, Catholic theology, church history, liturgy, and canon law).
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