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The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Biblical Interpretation



The Bible was the lifeblood of virtually every aspect of the life of the early churches. The essays in this Handbook explore a wide array of themes related to the reception, canonization, interpretation, uses, and legacies of the Bible in early Christianity. A first group of studies examines the material text transmitted, translated, and invested with authority, and the very conceptualization of sacred Scripture as God’s word for the Church. A second group looks at the culture and disciplines or science of interpretation in representative exegetical traditions. A third group of essays addresses the remarkably diverse literary and non-literary modes of interpretation, while a fourth group canvasses the communal background and foreground of early Christian interpretation, where the Bible was paramount in shaping normative Christian identity. A fifth group assesses the determinative role of the Bible in major developments and theological controversies in the life of the churches. A sixth group returns to interpretation proper and samples how certain abiding motifs from within scriptural revelation were treated by major Christian expositors. A seventh and final group of studies follows up by examining how early Christian exegesis was retrieved and critically evaluated in later periods of church history. Along the way, readers will be oriented to the major resources for, and issues in, the critical study of early Christian biblical interpretation.

Resource Experts
  • Points out the importance of the study of early Christian biblical interpretation to the general study of ancient Christanity as a whole
  • Serves as a guide to the scholarship and perspectives that shape the current study of early Christian interpretation of the Bible
  • Explores the principal issues of hermeneutical theory, exegetical method, and the like, as well as features beyond early Christian exegetical practice
  • Part I. Scripture
  • Part II. Interpreters and Interpretation
  • Part III. Settings and Genres of Scriptural Interpretation
  • Part IV. Communities and Criteria
  • Part V. Scripture in the Life of the Church
  • Part VI. Scriptural Figures and Motifs
  • Part VII. Retrievals and Criticisms

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.


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