Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture

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"[Young] offers us at once a thorough, synthetic overview of the development of patristic exegesis and a wise and thoughtful assessment of its theological and cultural importance. For its rich detail and for its wider narrative, the book has no competitors."--Brian E. Daley, SJ, University of Notre Dame

In this study of the influence of the late ancient educational system on patristic biblical exegesis, simplistic reductions to discrete methods (moral, typological, allegorical) and schools (Alexandrian, Antiochene) give way to a more nuanced appreciation. Professor Young's lucid study shows how early Christians used the interpretive tools of Greco-Roman culture to build an alternative Christian culture on the basis of the biblical text.


Endorsements

"In the present revival of interest in early Christian biblical interpretation, Frances Young's book stands out, head and shoulders, over everything else currently available in English. She offers us at once a thorough, synthetic overview of the development of patristic exegesis and a wise and thoughtful assessment of its theological and cultural importance. For its rich detail and for its wider narrative, the book has no competitors."--Brian E. Daley, SJ, University of Notre Dame

"Frances Young's study significantly alters the traditional map of patristic scriptural interpretation. Moving beyond the simple allegory vs. literalism dichotomy, she insightfully examines the much wider spectrum of reading strategies actually used by both Alexandrines and Antiochenes. This is a major study by a scholar accomplished in both patristics and New Testament studies."--Margaret M. Mitchell, The University of Chicago


The Author

  1. Frances M. Young

    Frances M. Young

    Frances M. Young (PhD, University of Cambridge) is the retired Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham, England, and a Fellow of the British Academy. The lead editor of The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature and...

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Reviews

"This book is far and away the finest single-volume treatment in English of patristic interpretation, presented with boundless erudition by a historian vitally interested in theological appropriation of Scripture. . . . [It] deserves rumination among the church's theologians, in both the academy and in the parish."--Theology Today

"An important book. . . . This book sets out an approach that promises to transform the study of patristic exegesis, and at the same time helps us to understand what was involved in the engagement with the scriptures--both at the liturgical and the individual level--that lay at the heart of Christian life, as the Fathers understood it."--The Gospel and Our Culture Network newsletter

"This book is a testimony to how the Church Fathers accomplished what they did, how they constructed novel meaning given the resources of reason of their time, [and] how they fashioned a rhetorical form that was able to rise to the challenges of shaping cultural meaning and value which could ennoble the human spirit. Such is the enterprise of a hermeneutical reading undertaken by Frances Young in this wonderfully crafted piece of scholarship. . . . The virtue of Young's book is that it does not declare we must imitate the exegesis of the Fathers. Rather, her book attunes our own desire to that of those who rose to the challenge of their time and asks whether we as readers of such initiatives might not return to our own hermeneutical challenges enriched by the imaginative possibilities, a deeper form of mimesis, for our time."--Theoforum