Friday, January 04, 2019

Not for the reasons you thought

It is often thought that symbolic allegory, as practiced by philosophers, was the universal way of reading literature in the educational system of the ancient world. But this was not the approach taken by the grammar and rhetorical schools, which had more influence. The rhetorical approach was intent on deriving ethical models, useful instruction, and moral principles from the study of literature. The reaction to Alexandrian symbolic allegory by the Antiochenes was informed by this rhetorical approach rather than a concern for what we would call a GH [grammatical-historical] approach. The Antiochene exegetes had a rhetorical education and certainly would have been influenced by the ideals of that approach to reading literature.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, pages 128–29

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