This course will examine the methods of biblical interpretation used in the Church from NT times through the 4th century. Areas covered will include the Jewish forms of exegesis found in the NT, the allegorical method, visual exegesis, the schools of Antioch and Alexandria, the impact of the 4th -century Christological debates, as well as interpreters such as Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and St. Augustine. The course will consist of lectures, the reading of some introductory secondary works, and selected readings from Patristic commentaries.
To be familiar with the various ways that the Scriptures were interpreted in the Jewish tradition in the three centuries BCE
To be familiar with the continuation of those traditions in the composition of the New Testament
To be familiar with visual modes of exegesis
To understand the various challenges to early Christianity and the ways in which that affected the interpretation of Scripture
To understand the theological and Christological currents in the first four centuries of Christianity and how competing schools of interpretation used Scripture in their pursuit of truth
To be familiar with the two main schools of interpretation – Alexandria and Antioch – as well as some of the influential interpreters in these schools
To understand how the methods used in the early church may contribute to modern understandings of Scripture as well as the shortcomings of these methods
A detailed course schedule is available for download.