By David Tracy, Robert McQueen Grant
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Extra resources for A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible
In the most common instance of this denial, passages containing anything unworthy of God must be interpreted allegorically; but it applies also to passages which are difficult to understand, whether they seem historically improbable or contain inconsistencies. After the literal sense has been excluded, the allegorical sense or senses can be introduced. In general it is obvious that any writing can be understood in several ways; and this Philo regards as a justification for his doctrine of a multiplicity of meanings.
Just as poets and geometricians, when they wish to raise their disciples from material and visible things to things hidden and invisible, erring in regard to the eternity of incorporeal matter and to indivisible atoms, say: “Just as it is not these visible signs which are signs for reading, but their hidden meanings, so from created natures one must rise by the image of thought to their eternal nature”; just so, Origen taught. . The Psalms and the Prophets who spoke of the captivity and the return of THE SCHOLL OF ANTIOCH 65 the people, he explained as teaching the captivity of the soul far from truth and its return to the faith..
Modem historical interpreters have praised Theodore for his boldness; but he is not an historical critic, and he turns his back on some of the intuitional typology of the New Testament. Nevertheless, in the long run the literal historical method became the principal exegetical method of the Christian church. 8 The Authoritative Interpretation The uneasiness of Christian exegetes in their conflicts with Marcion and the Valentinians did not diminish. Later minority groups continued to appeal to the authority of scripture, and often seemed to prove their case.