Theophany and River Gods

The Orthodox Church has always taught that the background against which the scriptures and scriptural events are rightly understood is preserved within Holy Tradition.  Holy Tradition is the life of the Holy Spirit within the church, but how precisely this functions is often misunderstood.  Sometimes it is thought to be some sort of secret additional knowledge, beyond the scriptures or the public proclamation of the church passed down orally.  This sort of idea, however, is roundly condemned by the Fathers in their contest against Gnosticism.  What separates Christianity from Gnosticism, they argue, is that Christianity has always publicly proclaimed the same faith delivered once and for all to the saints.  A prime example of how tradition ‘works’ can be seen…