Saturday, 11 April 2015

Justin Lee: They Divided My Garments Among Them: Diodore, Theodore, and Theodoret on Psalm 22

The exegesis of the Antiochene fathers is known for its emphasis on the historical, the grammatical, and the literal. Recent scholarship has attributed this tendency primarily to the influence of the ancient rhetorical schools. It has been argued that the emphasis on historia and the lack of theological engagement with the Old Testament resulted in the downfall of the so-called Antiochene school of interpretation. Generally speaking, the Antiochenes viewed the Psalms as moral and doctrinal texts. Each moral or doctrinal lesson is grounded in a specific historical context, which is typically noted at the beginning of each section. The historical milieu takes precedence in the interpretation of the Psalms, even in those which appear to be spiritual or prophetic. This is also often the case for psalms which are traditionally considered messianic.
In this paper, I will look at Diodore of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Theodoret of Cyrus and how they read messianic psalms. Specifically, I want to focus on parts that are quoted directly in the New Testament. To do this, I will compare their readings of Psalm 22 in order to determine the hermeneutical assumptions and methodologies underlying their readings of this text. I also hope to show how Theodoret, while holding generally to Antiochene exegetical principles, differs in certain hermeneutical assumptions and attempts to correct what is lacking in the exegesis of his predecessors.

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