Christology in the Hermeneutics of Cyril of Alexandria. North American Patristics Society. May 2021


Recent decades have seen the overturning of traditional dichotomies between Alexandrian and Antiochene biblical interpretation. The impact of the rhetorical and grammatical schools on both Antiochene and Alexandrian readers has commanded a particularly large share of attention. Some scholars, such as Frances Young and Elizabeth Clark, have replaced the literal/allegorical sense distinction with more complex hermeneutical topologies, while Margaret Mitchell has argued that the distinction, in its ancient usage, was a rhetorical device, constructed within the “agonistic” setting of ancient textual interpretation. However, less attention has been accorded to the theological motivations of the debate, especially to the question whether Christological differences might have been among its causes. Several writers have noted that there is a certain conceptual fit between characteristically Antiochene exegetical concerns and Christologies that emphasize the integrity of Christ’s human nature. Such suggestions have rarely been pursued at any length, however, and a causal connection between Christology and the exegetical controversies has not been proposed.

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  • May 1, 2021

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  • North American Patristics Society