Thursday, 23 May 2019

Bas ter Haar Romeny: Theodore of Mopsuestia on Genesis 22: A Reconstruction on the Basis of MS British Library Add. 17,217

Genesis 22, the story of Abraham who came close to sacrificing his son Isaac, is a cornerstone of the typological interpretation of the Old Testament. However, until now it was not clear how Theodore of Mopsuestia interpreted this text. When Eduard Sachau published some Syriac fragments of Theodore’s Commentary on Genesis on the basis of MS British Library Add. 17217, fol. 20-32, in 1869, he did not edit the rather mutilated folio 31, which appears to contain the commentary on Gen. 22 in a fragmentary state. This paper presents a first edition of this material and comparison to other Antiochene exegetes as well as to later East Syriac sources. Theodore was quite radical in his negative approach to allegorizing interpretations, and was even reluctant to recognize typologies. However, for Gen. 22 he does give typological explanations of some of the elements of the story. This is also significant for our assessment of the East Syriac exegetes, who followed him.

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