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Patristic Exegesis And The Arithmetic Of The Divine From The Apologists To Athanasius

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Chapter Summary

According to Harnack, the core doctrinal question is, ?Is the divine that has appeared on earth and reunited man with God identical with the supreme divine, which rules heaven and earth, or is it a demigod?" This chapter suggests that this arithmetic of the divine, though treated earlier as an apologetic problem, came to be a problem for Christian understanding in and of itself, and it was resolved in tandem with a resolution of the apparently separate question of the complex unity of Christian Scripture. It presents exegesis by ?collation of biblical images" together with the use of nonbiblical technical or semitechnical terminology to interpret biblical words, that is, by the composition of biblical language into a new interpretive fabric. Athanasius is less interested in interpreting particular verses in isolation than in determining which verses of Scripture are to be hermeneutically regulative.

Keywords: Athanasius; Christian scripture; God; patristic exegesis



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