The Commentary on Matthew demonstrates a spectacular familiarity with Scripture ranging across both Testaments, a knowledge of the views of Eastern and Western Fathers, and the virtue of discerning the intelligible order in the text, with a view to the author’s proximate and ultimate aims. While St. Thomas’s commentary cannot substitute for the modern advances in narrative analysis of Matthew, his dogmatic and moral discussions are timeless. The Commentary on Matthew has a complex textual history, as parts of the original reportatio (a text transcribed by a student listening to the lectures) were either missing or replaced by other content in different versions. Certain previous editions contain defective text. Fortunately, manuscript discoveries in the twentieth century together with textual research on the part of the Leonine Commission have made possible the preparation of an accurate Latin text of the commentary—and this is the reliable text that The Aquinas Institute is publishing.
The Commentary on John shows the Angelic Doctor at his most profound. He illuminates the doctrine of the text by weaving in Scriptural references, by citing the Church Fathers’ interpretations, and by applying his probing mind to unraveling difficulties in the text, all the while leading the reader ever deeper into the ineffable mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation. The Commentary on John displays a brilliant integration of philosophical reasoning, biblical wisdom, patristic witness, and theological method. Fr. Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P., comments: “It would be a bit foolish to try drawing up a ranking of Thomas’s best scriptural commentaries, but it is certain that we could classify this [Commentary on John] as among the most fully finished and most profound that he has left us.” In it, says Fr. Torrell, “Thomas reveals himself . . . as one of the contemplatives of whom St. John is the model.”
Aquinas wrote his Gospel commentaries for lectures given at the University of Paris.