By David Tracy, Robert McQueen Grant
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Extra info for A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible
The purpose of scripture is the revelation of “intellectual truths” rather than of God’s working in history. Sometimes, indeed, the “history” merely conceals the truths. The principle applies to both Testaments. The examples which he gives in support of this principle make most interesting reading. In the Old Testament Origen finds incredible the picture of the first three “days” of creation without sun, moon, and stars; the “farming” activity of God in “planting” a garden; the concept of a literal tree of “good and evil”; God’s “walking” in the garden; and Cain’s “going out” from the “face” of God.
8 The meaning of theory is most clearly evident in the Antiochene understanding of the’ prophets. The Antiochene writers rejected the Alexandrian opinion that the reference of the prophets to the coming of Christ was something added to the original prophecy, that it was an allegorical understanding. In their view the prophet himself foresaw both the immediate event which was to come in the history of ancient Israel, and the ultimate coming of Christ. The prophet’s prediction was at the same time both historical and Christocentric.
When he finds an unworthy presentation of God, or an absurdity, he feels that this must be allegorized. And yet he is never able to disprove the correctness of literalism. Methodius cannot overcome the tension between two influences which have shaped his thought. These are allegorization and literalism. 9 A far more profound and complete analysis of the relation of scripture to orthodox theology, and of the nature of the exegetical method, is to be found in the De doctrinu christiana (On Christian teaching) of Augustine.
A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible by David Tracy, Robert McQueen Grant