Antiochene Theoria in the Writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret of Cyrus

Antiochene Theoria in the Writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret of Cyrus

Richard J. Perhai
Copyright Date: 2015
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    Antiochene Theoria in the Writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret of Cyrus
    Book Description:

    Biblical scholars have often contrasted the exegesis of the early church fathers from the eastern region and “school” of Syrian Antioch against that of the school of Alexandria. The Antiochenes have often been described as strictly historical-literal exegetes in contrast to the allegorical exegesis of the Alexandrians. Patristic scholars now challenge those stereotypes, some even arguing that few differences existed between the two groups. This work agrees that both schools were concerned with a literal and spiritual reading. But, it also tries to show, through analysis of Theodore and Theodoret’s exegesis and use of the term theoria, that how they integrated the literal-theological readings often remained quite distinct from the Alexandrians. For the Antiochenes, the term theoria did not mean allegory, but instead stood for a range of perceptions—prophetic, christological, and contemporary. It is in these insights that we find the deep wisdom to help modern readers interpret Scripture theologically.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-9432-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Richard J. Perhai
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. 1 Introduction: Why Study Antiochene Theōria?
    (pp. 1-32)

    This book consists of three main thrusts. In the first (chapter 2), I seek to define and illustratetheōriain two primary Antiochene church fathers—Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret of Cyrus—of the fourth and fifth centuries.¹ In the second (chapters 3–4), I unpack this research in order to understand how these two Antiochenes locate links between the OT and the NT, as well as between the biblical text and the lives of their readers.² Here I have several goals. One is to help correct the misperceptions of some who affirm what they believe to be an Antiochene...

  6. 2 Theōria in Theodore’s and Theodoret’s Commentaries
    (pp. 33-112)

    This chapter provides analysis of primary source material in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret of Cyrus in order to illustrate and develop a definition of Antiochenetheoria—or at leasttheōriaas understood by Theodore and Theodoret. Primary sources for this research include manuscripts of Theodore’s and Theodoret’s exegetical works found in the TLG database¹ and in J. P. Migne’sPatrologia Graeca(PG).² These are supplemented with recent translations such as those in the Fathers of the Church (FC) multivolume series and catenae such as the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS).³

    Despite the presence of significant...

  7. 3 Research on Antiochene Theōria since 1991
    (pp. 113-204)

    In chapter 2 I surveyed and analyzed the termstheōriaandtheōreōin the commentaries of Theodore and Theodoret. I concluded that they both understandtheōriaandtheōreō, when used as hermeneutical terms, as the contemplative interpretive process enabled by the Holy Spirit and applicable for OT prophets, for NT apostles, as well as for postcanonical interpreters who have faith to see. In comparison, Bradley Nassif concludes that, for John Chrysostom,theōriais broadly defined as “the divine revelation or mystical illumination of spiritual realities which attends the process of inscripturation, interpretation, or homiletical discourse within the framework of Incarnation...

  8. 4 Issues and Insights Surrounding Antiochene Theōria
    (pp. 205-330)

    In chapter 2, the termstheōriaandtheōreōin the commentaries of Theodore and Theodoret were surveyed and analyzed. I concluded that both of these Antiochenes understoodtheōriaandtheōreōin their hermeneutical aspects as the contemplative interpretive process enabled by the Holy Spirit and applicable for OT prophets, NT apostles, and postcanonical contemporaries who have faith to see. The secondary literature reviewed in chapter 3 supports this, describing Antiochenetheōriaas a process by which these two bishops linked OT passages to Christ in the NT and made application to their readers.

    A significant body of primary and secondary...

  9. 5 Theōria and Theological Interpretation of Scripture
    (pp. 331-408)

    The earlier parts of this book are primarily historical analysis, seeking to answer, what was the exegetical tradition of the Antiochene school? But now I turn to another focus. In the remainder of the book, I want to ask how this Antiochene exegetical tradition—or history of interpretation—might help us today.¹ In particular, how do the exegetical methodologies of Theodore and Theodoret offer assistance in our contemporary attempts at theological interpretation of Scripture (TIS)?

    Sentiment is growing even among evangelicals to make definitive statements about TIS like this:

    Without questioning the legitimacy of the Bible as an object of...

  10. 6 Conclusion: Relevance for Modern Theological Exegesis
    (pp. 409-458)

    How might the lessons of the Antiochenes be applied in our exegesis today? Is it even warranted? As early as 1978, Walter Kaiser sounded the alarm of a “crisis in exegesis” not only in the more liberal schools but in conservative evangelical schools as well. He noted that the solution was to incorporate “theological exegesis” into the process of interpreting and preaching the Bible. Nevertheless, Kaiser warned that

    while we agree that theological exegesis is the missing part of the agenda on most exegetical guides that normally take the exegete through an enormous mass of data in higher and lower...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 459-512)
  12. Index of Names and Subjects
    (pp. 513-540)
  13. Index of Scripture References
    (pp. 541-549)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 550-550)