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Bible Commentaries

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary


Old Testament

Bernard Orchard
Bernard Orchard

John Archibald Henslowe Orchard, the son of a farmer, was born in Bromley, Kent, England and educated at Ealing Priory School, to which he would in later life return as headmaster.

Upon graduation, he studied at Fitzwilliam House, in the University of Cambridge, where he read History and Economics. Upon graduation in 1932, he took the monastic habit at Downside Abbey and adopted the name Bernard; he was subsequently ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1939.

From 1943 he took advantage of Divino afflante Spiritu, the papal encyclical of Pope Pius XII, which for the first time permitted modern methods of biblical criticism to be employed by Catholics, to embark upon A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, eventually published in 1951.

In 1967 he and a fellow Ealing Priory pupil produced a new translation of the Bible which was suitable for both liturgical and academic use.

Orchard promoted, in the face of general scholarly scepticism, the Griesbach hypothesis, which he renamed the Two-Gospel Hypothesis, which maintained that the Gospel of Matthew was the first and the Gospel of Mark the third, being a synthesis of Matthew's Gospel and the Gospel of Luke.

Orchard passed away on November 28, 2006 at the age of 96.

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