Issue 80 The First Bible Teachers

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What's inside

The First Battle For the Bible

A century after Christ’s death, a literalist and a spiritualizer forced the church to choose how it would read the Scriptures it inherited from the Jews.

Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J.

Midwife of the Christian Bible

Irenaeus identified the books of the New Testament, then showed the church how they fit with the Old.

Fr. John Behr

Origen: Friend or Foe?

By turns bizarre and insightful, Origen’s allegorical forays remain fascinating reading today.

John R. Franke

The Habits of Highly Effective Bible Readers

What we can learn from the church fathers that will enrich our own Bible study.

Christopher A. Hall

Why the Reformers Read the Fathers

The reformers wanted their teachings to be in harmony with the church fathers.

the Editors

Too Racy for Bible Study

Origen could not believe the Song of Songs was a hymn to erotic love. So what did it mean?

Warren Smith

Opponents of Allegory

The scholars at Antioch rejected allegory in favor of history. But their interpretive method led some into heresy.

Steven Gertz

Scripture Saturation

To achieve holiness, believed the early monks, you must soak in the moral sense of the Word.

Patrick Henry Reardon

Origen’s Monastic Legacy

Tracing a link from Egyptian monks, Nesteros, Origen, John Cassian, and the Benedictines.

Patrick Henry Reardon

Classical Ear-Training

What the church fathers heard in Homer and Virgil tuned them to the harmonies of Scripture.

Christopher A. Hall

From The Editor — The Founding Fathers We Never Knew

Among the least-known figures of history are the early church fathers.

Chris Armstrong

Augustine’s Key

The West’s foremost theologian offered a single principle by which even the unlearned could unlock Scripture’s meaning.

Gerald Bray

Augustine vs. Literalism

Why he was so fond of spiritual Scripture interpretation.

Christopher A. Hall

The First Bible Teachers: Did You Know?

Interesting and unusual facts about the church’s first Bible interpreters.

the Editors

Three Wise Men from the East

The Cappadocian Fathers brought the best gift of all: a powerful scriptural defense of the Trinity and Christ’s divinity against the Arian heretics.

Edwin Woodruff Tait and Chris Armstrong

Early Voices on Bible Study

The Church Fathers faced two big questions: “What is Scripture?” and “How should we read it?”

the Editor

The First Bible Teachers: Christian History Timeline

Traditions in Bible Reading

the Editors

Resources: Reading over the Fathers’ Shoulders

Here are several good guides to early exegesis, along with some of the best editions of the early interpreters’ own writings.

Collin Hansen

Allegory at Work

By turns bizarre and insightful, Origen's allegorical forays remain fascinating reading today.

John R. Franke
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