Unveiling the Scriptures (entire text)

Some months ago it was arranged by the good people of the Russian Orthodox diocese of Souroz in Britain that I would give a talk at their diocesan conference this May entitled Unveiling the Scriptures. That plan came to grief with the coming of the Covid virus which resulted in our government cancelling flights to Britain and the probable cancellation of the conference itself. But the talk has long since been written,…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 6

We conclude this series by examining the role of the Fathers in Christian Scriptural interpretation and by offering a threefold summary of our study. The Role of the Fathers The Church Fathers were a varied lot. They lived in a number of different centuries, had very different personalities and gifts, spoke different languages, and wrote to answer different questions, in different contexts. There is, in fact, a tremendous diversity among them, including…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 5

We now turn to a look at how Christians read the Old Testament. The Christian Exegesis of the Old Testament The Christian approach to the Old Testament shared with the Second Temple interpreters their approach to the Scriptures in that the Christians combed through the texts carefully to find hidden meanings—i.e. meanings not immediately apparent to an historical critical method of interpretation. But the Christian approach was different than all other Jewish…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 4

We continue our study by a look at Scriptural exegesis during the period of the Second Temple. Second Temple Exegesis It is important to understand how the Scriptures were read during this period. Because the Scriptures functioned as the repository of Israel’s poignant and sometimes desperate hopes, people read and re-read them carefully, mining them thoroughly to extract every bit of meaning—especially hidden meanings not immediately obvious to the casual reader. This…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 3

This series continues with an examination of the Scriptural tradition during the period of the kings of Israel. The Period of the Kings This situation began to slowly change under the kings of Israel and Judah. There had always been prophets in Israel, but they functioned more as seers and diviners than as sources of theological revelation. Thus when young Saul lost his family’s donkeys, he went to ask a seer where…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 2

We continue this series with an examination of the Scriptures in the Mosaic period. The Mosaic Period It was with Moses that the first written records of God’s dealings with His people began to be written. But even then, the main gift was that of presence, not message. When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush, He came with fire, not with a text. And He promised to liberate His people…