Thursday, January 03, 2019

The gap is huge

One problem With attributing the tension in the early church to a difference between a literal/historical and an allegorical approach to Scripture is that it assumes the literalism of the Antiochenes is the same as modem historicism. But as Frances Young states, “We can see how this historical emphasis was recognizably culturally specific to the modem world.” Antiochenes, Young explains, could not have even imagined
explicitly locating revelation not in the text of scripture but in the historicity of events behind the text, events to which we only have access by reconstructing them from texts, treating them as documents providing historical data. This is anachronistic, and obscures the proper background of the Antiochene’s protest [against allegory].
The proper background for understanding the tension between Alexandria and Antioch is the Greek education system, which was based on the study of literature and practical exercises in speech making. Christianity was inevitably affected by this educational system because of its significant influence on the society and culture into which the early Church was born.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, page 127

<idle musing>
Yes, the gap is huge, but it isn't between Alexandria and Antioch. It's between both of them and our obsession with historicity. Both schools of thought would flunk out of a basic hermeneutics class in our seminaries!
</idle musing>

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