Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Biblical Interpretation 6

The early church had schools of allegorical interpretation as well as a school of grammatical historical interpretation. The chief school of allegorical interpretation was the Alexandrian school. A few of the patristic figures of the time in this allegorical line of thought were Clement of Alexandria and Origen. They developed a spiritual or allegorical method of interpretation. They sought to move past the literal into a deeper meaning of Scripture. They held to a belief that the layman was not qualified to interpret the Scriptures, and thus it was the church’s duty to endeavor in the hermeneutical disciplines of the Scriptures. From them we move to Augustine who also followed an allegorical interpretation of Scripture for the most part. He too was insistent upon the church’s duty to interpret the Scriptures. From this time period we also see the seed of grammatical and historical interpretation forming in the Syrian school of Antioch. This school of thought was what much of the reformers looked to in their own development of hermeneutics. From this time frame we can learn many important lessons such as: Scripture interprets Scripture, one must be an exegete not eisogete, there is one literal meaning of scripture, and allegorical interpretation is dangerous and can lead one into dangerous heresies, so a more literal approach to the Scriptures helps us to understand the true meaning of the text.

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