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The Hermeneutics of a Theophanic Report—Exodus 12: Paschal Exegesis as Mystery Performance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the ways in which paschal writers approached the reading of Scripture within, or in connection with, the liturgical context of the paschal feast. This hermeneutical practice was a spiritual exegesis expressed through mystery terminology and placed within a liturgical context understood as a mystery rite. According to the paschal writings of Melito, Pseudo-Hippolytus, and Origen, scriptural hermeneutics constitutes an actual participation in, or encounter with, a reality imperceptible to the senses; that is, the manifestation of the Logos-Christ. The Jewish conception of reading the Torah as an experience that leads to the knowledge of divine mysteries served as a precedent for early Christian mystery exegesis. Pseudo-Hippolytus's exegesis of the Pascha is largely indebted to Melito, regarding both the structure of his homily and his theological perspective. The Origenian exegetical itinerary as well as the Melitonian one display and make discernible Christ's manifestations in Scripture.

Keywords: early Christian mystery exegesis; paschal writings; scriptural hermeneutics; Torah



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