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Accentuation and Causes for the Obscurity in the Divine Scriptures: Polychronius’ Prologue to Job

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

Abstract This article examines the work of the fifth-century bishop and brother of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Polychronius of Apamea (d. ca. 430), in light of extant writings from the second-century Greek grammarian, Aelius Herodianus. It studies a fragment from Polychronius’ prologue to his commentary on Job titled Causes for the Obscurity in the Divine Scriptures, identifies a philological analogue in the work of Herodian, and in so doing, highlights their grammatical training and shared concern with τόνοι (accents) in the interpretation of a text. The analysis shows that Polychronius’ employment of grammatical technique in understanding Christian scripture is of no less value to the Christian bishop than it is to the Greek grammarian, Herodian, in his understanding of Greek classics. For Polychronius, the “obscurity in the divine scriptures” can be resolved with the tools of Greek grammatical theory.

Affiliations: 1: Saint Louis University


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