"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Fathers on the Scriptures

I was startled yesterday to receive in the mail the latest catalogue from Fortress Press containing news of a forthcoming publication by a promising young scholar killed almost exactly a year ago. This collection which Matthew Baker co-edited with Mark Mourachian is a fitting posthumous memorial to the former: What is the Bible?: The Patristic Doctrine of Scripture (Fortress, 2016), 224pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
The patristic doctrine of Scripture is an understudied topic. Recent scholars, however, have shown considerable interest in patristic exegetical strategies and methods—from rhetoric and typology, to theory and method; far less attention, though, has been paid to the early Christian understanding of the nature of Scripture itself. This volume explores the patristic vision of the Bible—the understanding of Scripture as the word of life and salvation, the theological, liturgical, and ascetical practice of reading—and is anchored by keynote essays from Fr. John McGuckin, Paul Blowers, and Michael Legaspi.
The purpose is to reopen a consideration of the doctrine of Scripture for contemporary theology, rooted in the tradition of the Church Fathers (Greek, Latin, and Oriental), an endeavor inspired by the theological vision of the twentieth century's foremost Orthodox Christian theologian, Fr. Georges Florovsky. Our interest is not in mere description of historical uses of Scripture or interpretive methods, but rather in the very nature of Scripture itself and its place within the whole economy of creation, revelation, and salvation.
The publisher also gives us the table of contents, and we see here a considerable number of highly respected Orthodox scholars contributing chapters:

1. The Exegetical Metaphysic of Origen of Alexandria—J. A. McGuckin
2. A “Doctrine of Scripture” from the Eastern Orthodox Tradition—Oliver Herbel
3. “He Has Clothed Himself in Our Language—Matthew Baker
4. John Chrysostom on the Nature of Revelation and Task of Exegesis—Bradley Nassif
5. Barsanuphius, John, and Dorotheos on Scripture: Voices from the Desert in Sixth-Century Gaza—Alexis Torrance
6. The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ as “Saturated Phenomenon”—Paul M. Blowers
7. Scripture as Divine Mystery—Brock Bingaman
8. The Bible as Heilsgeschichte—Nikolaos Asproulis
9. The Gospel According to St. Justin the New—Vladimir Cvetkovic
10. Reality and Biblical Interpretation—John Taylor Carr
11. Merely Academic—Michael C. Legaspi

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