Category Archives: Patristic Exegesis

Chrysostom’s Principles of Interpretation

I’m increasingly interested in how John Chrysostom utilized Scripture, both in his biblical commentaries and otherwise. Like most other early Christian figures, Chrysostom does not spend much time explicitly setting forth his method of interpretation (notable exceptions include Origen’s On First Principles … Continue reading

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Augustine on Literal and Figurative Interpretation (2)

As we saw previously, Augustine’s general rule of interpretation centers on the notion of charity: if the literal level seems to lead away from the love of God and love of neighbor, an allegorical meaning must be sought. In practice, however, … Continue reading

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Augustine on Literal and Figurative Interpretation (1)

In light of my previous post (here), one very reasonable question might have come to mind: how did the Fathers determine what in Scripture was to be taken literally, versus what is to be understood figuratively? This is hardly an … Continue reading

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Mimesis, Typology, and Allegory

What do scholars mean by the words typology and allegory? Incredibly, though these two terms describing non-literal interpretation are crucial for understanding how scripture was read in early Christianity, there is very little consensus on what exactly they mean, or even if there … Continue reading

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Sanctified Vision (4): Origen and the Pedagogy of Scripture

Completing our study of O’Keefe and Reno’s Sanctified Vision, we turn to the idea, widespread throughout patristic interpretation, that a life of spiritual discipline is the prerequisite for correctly interpreting Scripture. The authors contend that even this is not a totally foreign … Continue reading

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Sanctified Vision (3): Typology, Allegory, and the Brady Bunch

“Allegory” might as well be a curse word for many literal-minded Christians. Dismissed, laughed at, scorned–allegorical interpretation of the Bible has fallen on tough times. But it was not always this way! Again, O’Keefe and Reno (Sanctified Vision, ch. 4-5) … Continue reading

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Sanctified Vision (2): Intensive Reading

Previously, I discussed how patristic authors believed Jesus of Nazareth to be the interpretive key for understanding all of Scripture. Now, turning to chapter 3 of O’Keefe & Reno’s Sanctified Vision, we consider the first of three major methods of reading … Continue reading

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