The Bible in Greek Christian Antiquity, edited and translated by Paul M. Blowers (University of Notre Dame Press, 464 pp.; $60, hardcover; $40, paper). Reviewed by Christopher A. Hall, associate professor of biblical and theological studies at Eastern College, Saint Davids, Pennsylania.
The collision of worlds can be a rather jarring affair. My first intense exposure to Eastern Christianity took place in a graduate seminar entitled "Russian Orthodox Spirituality." The seminar was taught by Thomas Hopko, a well-known Orthodox theologian and gifted teacher. The seminar was an eye-opening experience. Orthodox understandings of the centrality of worship were fascinating. Theological explorations of the Trinity were challenging. Eastern hermeneutical approaches to reading and interpreting the Scripture intrigued me.
I recall offering the interpretive perspective of Augustine on a specific biblical text and receiving the surprisingly abrupt response of Professor Hopko: "Augustine who?" Rest assured that Hopko was familiar with Augustine. Why, then, the somewhat harsh comment? Perhaps Hopko spotted in me an inability or unwillingness to open myself to his world, a world inhabited by teachers who spoke and wrote in Greek, not Latin, and who had read the Bible in the context of Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople rather than Rome, Hippo, Wittenburg, or Geneva. He was convinced that pastors and teachers such as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom had much to offer me, if only I was willing to listen.
Hopko was right. The hermeneutical lens of Greek Christian antiquity magnified concepts, characters, and themes that the evangelical tradition occasionally overlooked ...1
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