Does Patristic Exegesis Have a Place in Biblical Scholarship? Jerome and Gregory of Nyssa on Ecclesiastes
Mon, February 6, 2012 • 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM • PAR 203
Jennifer Barbour, Postdoctoral Scholar, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Gregory of Nyssa and Jerome wrote their works six hundred years after the anonymous author of Ecclesiastes, and these two early Christian scholars produced their exegesis of his book within another culture, under a different empire, and inside a competing religious system: they are not the natural place to go to understand the Hebrew words of Qohelet. But some of their most surprising typological interpretations turn out to offer an account of the book’s epistemology, characterization and even its ancient scientific framework which resonates closely with rabbinic readings, and which uncovers voices in the book that modern biblical scholarship has allowed to fade. Jerome and Gregory allow us to contest both the selfishness and the supersessionism in some later construals of the book, and to restore it to a constructive place within each of the traditions which preserved it.