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Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018.
For the uninitiated, entering the world of patristic and medieval Scriptural interpretation can feel a little like being a Muggle who suddenly finds themselves at Hogwarts: Everything is interesting, brilliant, even magical… but also just a little bit too uncomfortably odd. How, then, does a 21st century Christian attempt to work out the systems and mysteries that lie behind and undergird the patristic writings? How do we find our way through the labyrinth of their literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical interpretations of Scripture? How can we get at their gold and make sense of their curiosities?
D - H - Williams - Matthew - Commentators
Fortunately, D. H. Williams in his Matthew: Interpreted by Early Christian Commentators is here to help. In this seventh volume of the Church’s Bible series, Williams continues the series’ excellent work of bringing the Scriptural writings of the fathers into the life of the Church today: Edited, translated, and arranged as an anthology of early Christian exegesis.
A methodological strength of this series is the way in which it “draws extensively on the ancient commentaries, not only on random comments drawn from theological treatises, sermons or devotional works” (p. x), thus enabling the reader to get a sense of the method of the fathers’ writings, rather than just presenting them with some random, nice, patristic thoughts. Additionally, this method serves to highlight the centrality of the Scriptures for the life of the early Church. As Robert L. Wilken in his preface notes, “In the early Church all discussion of theological topics, of moral issues, and of Christian practices took the biblical text as the starting point.” (p. ix).
Authors - Texts - Williams - Stage - Anthology
But how did the patristic authors understand these biblical texts? Williams sets the stage for his anthology by noting the foundational hermeneutic at work in the early church. That is, the way in which all Scripture...
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