Reading in Christian Communities: Essays on Interpretation in the Early Church (Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity)

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9780268031657: Reading in Christian Communities: Essays on Interpretation in the Early Church (Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity)
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The essays in this book honor and extend the work of Rowan A. Greer, Walter H. Gray Professor Emeritus of Anglican Studies at Yale University Divinity School, by exploring the connections between textual interpretation and the formation of religious identity. A diverse and prestigious group of biblical scholars, church historians, and theologians study the function that scripture plays in the creation and maintenance of faith communities and the ways that communal locations in turn shape the interpretation of scripture. The first part of the book examines specific examples of ancient biblical interpretation as a means of creating, maintaining, and challenging Christian identity in the pluralistic ancient world. Authors study acts of interpretation in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Physiologus, Gnostic literature, the fifth-century mosaic of the Church of Hosios David in Thessaloniki, and in the works of Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, John Chrysostom, and Porphyry of Tyre. Reading scripture emerges as a strategy for locating the reader and his or her community with respect to other Christians, Jews, and pagans. Part 2 of the volume considers the general problem of interpretation within Christian communities, whether ancient or modern, as they face the task of maintaining a coherent identity in a multicultural environment. Contributors to this book - all students, colleagues, and friends of Rowan Greer - are Charles A. Bobertz, David Brakke, Mary Rose D'Angelo, Stanley Hauerwas, Martha Meeks, Wayne Meeks, Frederick Norris, Richard Norris, Alan Scott, Arthur Bradford Shippee, Michael Bland Simmons, and Frederick Weidmann.

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Review:

"This book will be of interest for those concerned with patristic exegesis and the contemporary discussion of how that exegesis, and texts generally, are to be interpreted."--Journal of Ecclesiastical History

"[A] substantial contribution to the post-modern theological conversation."--Perspectives in Religious Studies

"A stimulating engagement of postmodern hermeneutics and the field of patristics, Reading in Christian Communities assists theologians and historians in understanding the ways in which the interpretation of texts develops out of particular cultures and, in turn, influences those cultures."--Journal of Early Christian Studies

". . . a very fitting tribute. . . . The scholarly authors of these essays are all colleagues, students, or friends of Greer, and the essays are intended as a tribute to him and a continuation of his work. Both with regard to the content of the essays and the reflections on the modern hermeneutical problem, this is a welcome addition to the ever growing literature on the subject."--The Heythrop Journal

About the Author:

CHARLES A. BOBERTZ is associate professor of theology at St. John's University School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota. He is the author of several articles on the history of ancient Christianity as well as a member of the Mark Group of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Mark Task Force of the Catholic Biblical Association. He is an ordained Roman Catholic deacon. DAVID BRAKKE is associate professor of religious studies and director of graduate studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of numerous books and articles and co-founder of the Europe and the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity Group in the American Academy of Religion.

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