Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-12-03
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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This book challenges standard accounts of early Christian exegesis of the Bible. Professor Young sets the interpretation of the Bible in the context of the Graeco-Roman world - the dissemination of books and learning, the way texts were received and read, the function of literature in shaping not only a culture but a moral universe. For the earliest Christians, the adoption of the Jewish scriptures constituted a supersessionary claim in relation to Hellenism as well as Judaism. Yet the debt owed to the practice of exegesis in the grammatical and rhetorical schools is of over-riding significance. Methods were philological and deductive, and the usual analysis according to 'literal', 'typological' and 'allegorical' is inadequate to describe questions of reference and issues of religious language. The biblical texts shaped a 'totalising discourse' which by the fifth century was giving identity, morality and meaning to a new Christian culture.

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
Exegesis and the Unity of the Scriptures
Reception and appropriation
The mind of scripture
The Bible as Classic
Cultures and literatures
The advent of scholarship
Bible and culture
Language and Reference
Reference and cross-reference
The sacrament of language
All+┬┐goria and theoria
The question of method
The Bible and the Life of Faith
The contexts of interpretation
The life of faith
The theologian as exegete
Conclusion and retrospect: towards an outline historical account
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