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Scriptural Interpretation: A Theological Exploration

ISBN: 978-1-118-36745-2
292 pages
November 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Scriptural Interpretation: A Theological Exploration (1118367456) cover image


In Scriptural Interpretation, Sarisky brilliantly draws together Patristic Theology and a theological interpretation of Scripture in the modern day, to examine Scripture’s central place in the life of the Church and ordinary believers.

  • Examines the importance of scriptural interpretation in the life of Christians and of the church 
  • Draws together two lively discussions: a study of the theology of the Cappadocian fathers, and a discussion of theological interpretation of Scripture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
  • Covers an impressive historical range, from Basil of Caesarea right up to the work of the major contemporary thinkers, Stanley Hauerwas and Rowan Williams
  • Offers a sophisticated understanding of many Patristic thinkers – an area of huge current interest in the field – and challenges accepted readings of the theology of Basil of Caesarea
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

Editions and Translations xii

Abbreviations xv

Introduction 1

Part I: Basil of Caesarea 6

Part II: Contemporary and Constructive Theology 27

Summary of the Argument 33

Part I Basil of Caesarea 35

1 The Reader – A Little Lower than the Angels 37

Angels: Perfect upon Creation 38

Humanity: Perfected over Time 42

2 The Text – Scriptural Paideia 71

Anthropological Context 72

Revelation 74

Theological Account of Scripture 77

The Utility of Scripture 85

3 Reading – Eschatological Interpretation 90

Theological Analysis of Reading 92

The End of Reading 104

4 Ecclesial Setting – Exegesis and Ecclesial Dogma 111

A Concise History of Reception for De Spiritu Sancto 27 113

Background to De Spiritu Sancto: The Notion of Craft 114

A Reading of De Spiritu Sancto 27 117

Conclusion to Part I: Basil’s Theological Account of Scriptural Interpretation 129

Part II Contemporary and Constructive Theology 133

Introduction to Part II: The Contemporary Debate 135

5 The Reader – Restoring a Sense of the End 140

The Critique of Modernity 141

Narrative and Human Nature 145

6 The Text – Scripture in the Flow of Time 159

Revelation and Generativity 161

A Text in Time 162

7 Reading – Interpretation and the Time of Learning 173

Reading as Shaped by Models of Scripture 174

The Contour of the Time of Learning 176

8 Ecclesial Setting – Practices Performed in Community 184

The Ecclesial Framework 187

Interpretation Situated in a Web of Practices 189

9 A Constructive Account of Scriptural Interpretation 201

Reader 205

Text 212

Reading 217

Ecclesial Setting 224

Conclusion 234

Bibliography 245

Index 265

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Author Information

Darren Sarisky is a Junior Research Fellow at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. He previously served as a Teaching Associate in Doctrine at the University of Cambridge Divinity Faculty. Dr Sarisky’s primary area of research is the nature and interpretation of Christian Scripture.

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Interview with Darren Sarisky - December 15th 2013

“Building on its astute analysis of elements of patristic and modern biblical hermeneutics, Scriptural Interpretation makes a persuasive theological proposal about how to be readers of the biblical text in the company of the church. Elegant, measured, rich in its details and penetrating in its judgements, this is one of the most distinguished accounts of the matter in recent years.”—John Webster, King's College

“Dr Sarisky is deeply immersed in the Bible, early Church writings and the Christian theology of recent decades, and he brings them to bear in a masterful way on the key theme of interpreting scripture. He puts a bold, well-supported case for the crucial importance of a thoroughly theological account of scripture, its readers, their corporate context and the practice of reading itself. His perceptive analyses and responses to Basil of Caesarea, Stanley Hauerwas and Rowan Williams culminate in a constructive contribution to what he rightly sees as one of the most important current debates in Christian theology. He does something that might seem obvious but is actually both unusual and difficult: he lets God be utterly central and pervasive to both the Bible and its reception.”  David F. Ford, University of Cambridge       

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