Friday, February 12, 2016

Lenten Reading: St. Thomas More's Treatise on the Passion

Two years ago, I read St. Thomas More's The Sadness of Christ during Lent; this year I have started (with the Introduction from the Yale volume) reading his Treatise on the Passion. This edition, from the Yale Complete Works of Thomas More, has not been rendered into modern English with standardized spelling although Yale University did publish an edition with modern English in 1980, which one may read on-line here.

In the Introduction to More's meditation on the Passion narratives from the four Gospels, Garry E. Haupt emphasizes that More was commenting on Scripture according to a more Augustinian and less Scholastic method, following the example of his late friend, John Colet, the Dean of St. Paul's.

A layman, More is essentially writing sermons for other laymen, following the literal meaning of the Gospel texts and then applying them as moral lessons for the reader. In addition to Augustine and Colet, More was influenced by Jean de Gerson, whose Monotessaron, a harmonization of the four Gospels was his main source, along with St. Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea, which provided him with commentary from the Fathers of the Church.

The Center for Thomas More Studies provides this on-line concordance to the Treatise.

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