The essays of Patristic Exegesis in Context examine the biblical exegesis of early Christians beyond the formal genre of biblical commentary. The past couple of decades have seen a broadening of perspective on the study of patristic exegesis; the phenomenon is increasingly situated within its various literary contexts and genres, and the definition of what counts as patristic exegesis is therefore widened. This volume thus situates itself within this emerging scholarly tradition, which aims not to give an account of exegetical strategies and methodologies as found primarily in exegetical commentaries and homilies, but to demonstrate the highly sophisticated nature of biblical exegesis in other genres, and the manifold uses to which this exegesis was put. Ancient Christian authors lived and breathed scripture; it served as their primary source of theological and liturgical vocabulary, their way of processing the world, their social ethic, and their mode of constructing self and communal identity. Scripture therefore permeates all ancient Christian literature, regardless of genre, and the various contexts in which interpretation of scripture took place resulted in a wide variety of uses of the church’s authoritative texts. The essays in this volume demonstrate the interpretive skill, creativity, and sophistication of early Christian authors in a myriad of other early Christian genres, such as poetry, paraphrase, hymns, martyr accounts, homilies, prophetic vision accounts, monastic writings, argumentative treatises, encomia, apocalypses, and catenae. Accordingly, the volume aims to help the modern person, who is used to hearing the Bible explained in explicitly expository situations (for example, in academic commentaries or religious sermons) to become more habituated to ancient ways of interacting with and expounding the biblical text. These essays attempt to contextualize various types of patristic exegesis, in order for us to glimpse the complex and diverse uses of the Bible in this period.
"Each essay is a marvelous case study in its own right. These essays are fresh analyses by authors who are specialists in the early Christian writers and texts on which they are composing their essays…an exceptional quality of scholarship."~Paul Blowers, Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan University
"Patristic exegesis has emerged as a major topic of research over the past two decades. Nevertheless, the degree to which early Christian thought and practice were decisively shaped by its sacred texts remains under-appreciated in much scholarship. The stimulating set of essays in this present volume addresses this need by examining the presence of exegesis in a range of diverse literary forms beyond the well-known commentary genre thus revealing the richness of the biblically saturated imagination universe inhabited by Christians in antiquity."~Matthew Crawford, Australian Catholic U
"De Cock and Klein gather a probing collection of essays on patristic biblical interpretation beyond the commentary. The contributors to this volume explore an array of literary genres that demonstrate the breadth of early Christian interest in their sacred writings as well as the capacity of these writings to shape the language, imagination, and lives of early Christians."~Peter Martens, Saint Louis University
"This edited volume advances scholarly conversations around early Christian biblical interpretation across a range of genres. In their lucid introduction, De Cock and Klein orient readers to the thematic threads weaving these essays into a coherent whole. Subsequent chapters feature detailed case studies and imaginative interventions from leading researchers in Latin, Greek, and Syriac literature. Exploring the Literary Contexts of Patristic Biblical Exegesis represents a fruitful collaboration of scholars and promises to spark new lines of inquiry."~Erin Walsh, University of Chicago Divinity School