Sunday, 3 May 2015

Peter Schadler: Reading the Self by Reading the Other: An Unusual Hermeneutical Key to the Reading of Sacred Texts in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

‘How do you read?', Christ asked the lawyer who had just questioned him regarding the law (Luke 10:26). The question of how one read in late antiquity and beyond has received scant attention in modern scholarship in comparison with studies on what one read. One hermeneutical key to understanding sacred texts in late antiquity was the practices of reading sacred texts as self-biographical. While it has been demonstrated that Constantine, for example, could be seen as a new David, and that Gregory of Nyssa could find in the life of Basil the life of Moses, this paper will argue that it was not uncommon for the Christian to find in the Scriptures his own life, played out centuries before. The theological principle that the Old Testament Scriptures already offered the typological life of Christ meant that the life of the Christian following in the steps of Christ was similarly to be found in Scripture. By examining two examples of such activity more closely, I argue that such practices were more widespread, and a natural extension of this fundamental typological claim.

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