Category Archives: Patristic Hermeneutics

Gregory of Nazianzus Contra Apollinaris

My summation of Gregory of Nazianzus’ attack on Apollinarianism: “[W]e do not sever the man from the Godhead, but we lay down as a dogma the unity and identity [of person]…,” the eternal God assuming manhood for our salvation.:”(“To Cledonius … Continue reading

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Redeeming Human Nature

Somewhere recently I read that for the Fathers the object of Christ’s redemptive work was not individuals per se, but the whole of humanity. Not that individuals per se do not get redeemed (they do), but that the focus of … Continue reading

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Ousia: “Particular, Concrete Existence”

Probably old hat to some, but reading this today in the translator’s note to Gregory of Nyssa’s “An Answer to Ablabius” really helped me with Trinitarian metaphysics. In the Cappadocians, the divine ousia (essence) is not strictly speaking a “universal” … Continue reading

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Believe In Order to Understand (III)

Taking up the Arian question “How was God begotten?”, Gregory of Nazianzus replies simply, “The begetting of God must be honored by silence.” For “the manner of his generation we will not admit that even angels can conceive, much less … Continue reading

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Antioch and Alexandria, Again

A key difference between the Antiochene and Alexandrian schools of biblical exegesis seems to have been that Antioch was more influenced by the discipline of rhetoric and a sense of rooted-ness in history, while Alexandria preferred philosophy and spiritual realities … Continue reading

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Qualifying Negative Appraisals of Antiochene Exegesis

Bertrand de Margerie, S.J., asks whether it is fair, when evaluating the Antiochene school of biblical exegesis, to reduce it to the oft-suspiciously viewed work of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Diodore of Tarsus.:”(An Introduction to the History of Exegesis Vol. … Continue reading

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Literal and Spiritual

Francis M. Young helpfully delineates the hermeneutical assumptions of the Greco-Roman schools of grammar, rhetoric, and logic within which the Church Fathers received their formative educations.:”(“Alexandrian and Antiochene Exegesis,” in A History of Biblical Interpretation, Vol. 1: The Ancient Period, … Continue reading

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The Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia

Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia, lived from 350-428. A friend of John Chrysostom, he was a proponent of the Antiochene school of biblical exegesis, which focused heavily on what might today be called the “grammatical-historical” interpretation of the text. Theodore was … Continue reading

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One Bible; Two Christological Schools

As others have pointed out regarding the multiplicity of theories of the atonement, the biblical content is so rich that it often allows for entirely different starting points on the same subject, which then entails the development of different theoretical … Continue reading

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