Thursday, 5 February 2015

Hauna Ondrey: 'Moderate' Exegetes?: Jerome and Cyril of Alexandria Respond to Origen

Both Jerome and Cyril of Alexandria have been billed as ‘moderate' exegetes. M.C. Pennacchio, for example, finds an Antiochene/Alexandrian synthesis taking place through fourth and fifth century interpretation, ‘receiving its best expression' in the works of Jerome and Cyril. A. Vaccari and R.C. Hill conclude similarly. In my paper I demonstrate that it is Cyril, and not Jerome, who truly synthesizes the two approaches, by comparing the two interpreters' commentaries on the Minor Prophets. I argue, contrary to M.H. Williams, that Jerome's interpretation iuxta historiam does not restrict ‘the liberty of [his] allegorical imagination', so that ‘when a proposed allegorical reading required a distortion of the literal or historical sense, that interpretation was to be rejected' (The Monk and the Book [2006], 118, 117). Rather, Jerome conceives of his extensive attention to the Hebraica veritas as an exegetical addition, not a hermeneutical restraint. Jerome does not challenge Origenian interpretations unless they are foreclosed by the Hebrew text or lead to heterodox doctrine. Cyril's commentary on the prophets, by contrast, embodies a hermeneutical adaptation, as his commitment to the historicity of events depicted in the prophetic oracles cause him to reject or limit non-literal interpretations. Though my scope encompasses their interpretation of all twelve Minor Prophets, I focus especially on their Jonah commentaries, within which both interpreters signal the danger of taking typology to excess, yet Cyril alone adheres to this avowed restriction.

No comments:

Post a Comment