Thursday, 23 May 2019

Maya Goldberg: Allegorism and Anti-Allegorism in the East-Syrian Commentary on the Minor Pauline Epistles in Ms (olim) Diyarbakir 22

Perhaps one of the most recognisable principle in Theodore of Mopsuestia’s historico-grammatical approach to biblical exegesis is a strict rejection of allegorical, or spiritual, interpretation, as exemplified in the introductions to his commentaries on the Psalms and Ecclesiastes,as well as in his commentary on Gal 4:24. Although never mentioned by name, it had probably been Origen who for Theodore especially embodied the allegorical approach to Scripture. The anonymous commentary preserved in ms. (olim) Diyarbakir 22, which was written centuries after Theodore’s death, was not only heavily influenced by his writings, but also preserved considerable—albeit very selective—portions of the original Syriac translation of his works. As for the rest, the commentary mostly relies on Isho‘dad of Merv (9th c.), for whom Theodore was a superior exegetical authority at least in name (as many other and diverse influences were admitted into his works). In this paper, I will look into how Theodore’s anti-allegorism, manifested so fiercely in his full commentaries, was transmitted in the commentary on Paul’s Minor Epistles preserved in the ms., and assess the evolution, so to speak, of the Antiochene tradition of which the East-Syrians saw themselves as sole guardians.

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