REVIEW: Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas (Baronius Press)

Latin catena means "chain".  Catena came to be the label for a work which involved "chaining" the commentaries of previous previous writers so as to create a verse by verse biblical commentary.

The best known of these catena was created by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) and it is called the Catena Aurea, covering the four Gospels.

The nice folks at Baronius Press have produced a new, leather bound, four volume set of the Catena Aurea and I am happy to show some photos of the books on this day especially, when in the traditional Roman calendar we celebrate the so-called "Missa Aurea" for Ember Wednesday of Advent.

As I said there are four volumes, bound in leather with pages edged in, appropriately, gold.

They are being sold through the website of Baronius Press for US $140.

I noted that they were printed in India.

This is not just a photocopied set, reproducing the original pages of the 1841 edition.  This is entirely reset.  

There are handy ribbons for marking your place.

The binding feels good, and not too tight.  The books lie open.

The contents are as you might suspect.  No pictures.  Just text.  This is a reprint of an edition that was prepared in 1841.

The volumes have no indices, which is a bit of a draw back.  Since the books were actually reset with a new typeface, preseumably in electronic form, it is hard to understand why there couldn’t be an index.  But there it is.

Baronius Press is publishing very nice books.  Their hand missal for the older Mass is wonderful.  They have some good tools for Scripture.  I was very impressed also by their Divine Intimacy.

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  1. Tom in NY says:

    Exemplum legi. Comentarii de illustris sunt. Editio novissima subito “aureum vetulum” fiat.

    Salutationes omnibus.

  2. Tom in NY says:

    The Congregation for Clergy has Church Fathers’ commentary on its URL, as well as leading Bible translations (e. g., RSV for English). For those who need to write documents, this site affords the opportunity to cut and paste, thereby speeding the research and writing.

    Salutationes omnibus.

  3. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Tom: Thank you for the link to Clerus. What a wonderful resource!

  4. GregH says:

    How on earth can the 4-volume set of this be only $140 whereas the smaller, 2-volume set of the breviary be $298 at another publisher?

  5. greg the beachcomber says:

    GregH – “How on earth” is a good way to put it. I’d say printing it in India instead of the US or UK is the likeliest explanation.

  6. MOP says:

    Thanks, Father! I just ordered this from Baronius Press. Great idea for our favorite priest. But delivery time is getting short for this Christmas.

  7. Tradster says:

    On their website the $140 is stated as the “introductory price”. No telling what it be raised to or when (if ever).

  8. Tom in NY says:

    Aquinas compiled great commentators who may have had access to other texts than Jerome’s Vulgate, which may have been later than Chrysostomos and very fresh for Augustine.
    None of the commentators in the sample pages addressed “gloria” as translation from “doxa” or “kabod (Hb)” suggesting the presence of the Deity, though “doxa” translated “kabod” in the LXX. The latter could have been available to Chrysostomos. None remarked on “eskenesomen” as “pitching tents”, a wonderful, concrete image stronger than “habitavit.”
    They are, as you can see, experts on how the Divine touched us, and its meaning.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  9. JARay says:

    Well I purchased a CD produced by “Harmony Media” which includes the whole of Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, his Catena Aurea and the RSV Bible and a few clips of St. Thomas’s hymns. It also has a search facility.
    The nuisance is that one has to sit at a computer to access it. A book is much nicer.
    But, I think that I paid about $97 (Australian) for it.
    On a different topic……
    I read somewhere that some publisher was going to re-print the Mgr. Ronald Knox’s translation of the Bible. Anyone know anything about that?

  10. ljc says:

    JARay, yes, Baronius Press is re-printing the Knox version of the Bible. It is under their “forthcoming titles.”

  11. JARay says:

    Many thanks ljc.

  12. Allan S. says:

    Baronius has been struggling, I think. Their opus – the Breviary – has been “forthcoming” for, like, three years now.

    Methinks they have cash flow issues…. I’ll buy it when (if?) it’s published though. I own their missal already.

    I don’t speak Latin, but the whole side-by-side thing can help me to recognize certain words and phrases.

  13. Tradster says:

    I received the Catena last week (one set for me and one for my pastor). It is a wonderful Lectio Divina tool.

    Regarding the question of the release of the Breviary, the following was recently posted on the Baronius website…

    Many of you have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Roman Breviary which has been plagued with constant delays and we are very grateful for all the emails and prayers of support that we have received.

    The good news is, that after a long search, we have found a censor who has kindly agreed to undertake the tedious and very responsible task of carefully checking through our work to ensure that a Concordat Cum Originali can be granted. We ask you to join us in praying for the censor, that the work is completed as quickly as possible.

    Once the Concordat Cum Originali is granted, the Breviary will be sent to the printers. At this point we will post full information on our website detailing costs and how to pre-order.

  14. Geremia says:

    I am satisfied with the free versions online (of Matthew and Mark only, though). Registration is free, then you can download the PDF:

    Catena Aurea – Gospel of Matthew
    Catena Aurea – Gospel of Mark

Comments are closed.