Ammonius of Alexandria on the Psalms

Ammonius of Alexandria

Commentaries on the Old and New Testament which Remain

Relatively little is known about Ammonius of Alexandria (5th-6th century CE) apart from his service as presbyter in the Alexandrian and church and his brief literary fragments. This being the case, he has often been confused with an earlier Ammonius from Alexandria, the neoplatonic philosopher Ammonius Saccas (3rd century CE). According to Minge, around the year 458 CE Ammonius may have written letters for the bishops of Egypt to Pope Leo concerning the Council of Chalcedon. He did, however, have a penchant for writing Biblical commentaries, as fragments from his works on the Psalms, Daniel, John, Luke, Acts, I Corinthians, and I Peter remain extant.[1]

Translations from Fragments of Ammonius on the Psalms[2]

PSALM 3.4 “You, however, Lord, are my guardian, my glory, and you exalt my head.” First indeed it is said that God is his guardian, then his glory, and afterward the one exalting his head. Certainly he is a guardian, in order that he may liberate him from many tribulations and surroundings. Truly, then, after guardianship is glory: for first God guards, then he glorifies, and finally he exalts the head of him whom he has glorified.

PSALM 3.7 “I will not fear the thousands of people who have surrounded me.” For just as you all supply those to whom you are favorably inclined, the favorable Savior and King considers the well-being of his very own.

PSALM 3.8 “Because you struck all my adversaries without cause.” He certainly stuck his adversaries; he truly destroyed the animosity of sins. Indeed that he may heal those again: For I strike and I will heal again. Moreover, he crushes the bitterness of sins, that is, perverse things, gossips, and carnivorous actions, desiring to thoroughly destroy them. Truly, perhaps, he crushes even the same accused adversaries and sinners. For in Christ all are against sinners, but especially that infidelity of the Jews, of whom animosity was exhausted. Truly, this is the ill will of those about whom in another Psalm it is said: Whoever devours my people in the food of bread, God will not pray for. For this animosity—that is, the sly words of the Jews—he thoroughly crushed, when he rose from the dead.

PSALM 3.9 “The Lord is salvation, and your blessing is above your people.” On account of this, there was the name, and this event: And you will call his name Jesus.

[1] CPG III, 5500-5509. PG 85: 1361-1610; 1823-1826.

[2] PG 85: 1361-1364.


Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Husband of Hayley. Dad of Bree and Judah. Lead pastor at Arise Church. MATS from Saint Louis University, MA from Wake Forest University, BA from Valparaiso University. Theologian and writer here and at Conciliar Post. Find me on social at @pastorjakestl

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