An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible
AUTHOR: O'Keefe, John J. and Reno, R. R.
PUBLISHER: Johns Hopkins University Press
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In Sanctified Vision John J. O'Keefe and R. R. Reno explain the structure and logic of the early Church fathers' interpretations of the Bible. These interpretations are considered foundational to the development of Christianity as a religion and offer insight into how the early church fathers thought about Christian doctrine and practice. By analyzing selected portions of patristic exegesis, the authors illustrate specific reading techniques employed by the church fathers to expound the meaning they believed intrinsic to biblical texts.
This approach is organized around three basic analytic strategies: literal, typological, and allegorical. The literal strategy is an intensive and broad analysis that identifies particular word associations that intensify scriptural meaning. The typological strategy interprets distinct patterns of events within scripture and applies those patterns to other events in scripture and the history of the church. The allegorical approach to biblical reading, like the topological strategy, seeks patterns in the text, but these patterns are more diverse and represent larger themes or beliefs of the early church.
Within this analytic framework, the authors explain the larger structure of patristic exegesis and argue for the importance of this structure in the emergence of Christian orthodoxy.
PUBLICATION DATE: 4/1/2005