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Old Testament Interpretation in the Writings of the Church Fathers

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Chapter Summary

The scriptures inherited from the Jews continued to be of prime importance to Christians throughout the age of the church fathers, the ecclesiastical writers of approximately the first six centuries, as art as well as literature attests. The early Christian writers considered here range from Clement of Rome, at the end of the first century, to Procopius of Gaza in the Greek east (beginning of sixth century) and Gregory the Great in the Latin west (end of sixth century). The Old Testament (OT) is also pervasively significant, however, in homily on New Testament (NT) books and subjects. Catechesis was a prominent concern, inherited from the Jews, among the earliest Christians. Patristic exegesis was shaped partly by distinctive features of the biblical text, partly by the logical principles classically but densely formulated by Aristotle, and partly by the typology and allegory already employed in pre-Christian biblical interpretation.

Keywords: Christian catechesis; church fathers; Jews; Old Testament (OT); patristic exegesis; Philonic allegory; typology

10.1163/9789004275102_021
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