Author Topic: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation  (Read 2089 times)

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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Hey Y'all,

 I was researching some   YouTube vids with Fr. Lazarus el Antony, the Australian atheist professor turned Coptic monastic.  From his cell in the (Sinai?) desert, he was explaining the difference between the way the two Patriarchates used to interpret Scriptures.  He said the Antiochian way favored a more historical, literal approach, while the Alexandrian way was more metaphorical.  He said the Alexandrian method is the method the Holy Fathers (desert fathers) used.  I was fascinated to hear this as it was the first time I've heard that before.  Can any y'all shed some light on this for me? 



 
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2012, 07:59:26 PM »
Some of the Holy Fathers were "Antiochenes" too, such as St. John Chrysostom. The Alexandrian methodology has provided us with much of our Old Testament typology. If you want to see classic Alexandrian exposition, ask the question, "Why are there lots of instruments mentioned in the Psalms, while we don't use musical instruments in worship?" The Alexandrians basically sidestep the question and give the harps, timbrels, etc. an allegorical reading to represent our various spiritual faculties.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2012, 08:18:50 PM »
Some of the Holy Fathers were "Antiochenes" too, such as St. John Chrysostom. The Alexandrian methodology has provided us with much of our Old Testament typology. If you want to see classic Alexandrian exposition, ask the question, "Why are there lots of instruments mentioned in the Psalms, while we don't use musical instruments in worship?" The Alexandrians basically sidestep the question and give the harps, timbrels, etc. an allegorical reading to represent our various spiritual faculties.

Interesting.  I guess I never knew their were 'schools of thought' like this.
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Offline dzheremi

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Re: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 08:41:24 PM »
St. John Chrysostom is not one of the Desert Fathers, Iconodule.

I am not terribly well-versed in such things (having never been an Antiochian myself), but I have noticed that kind of orientation in some of our priests' and others expositions of the Bible (I can't think of anything in particular off the top of my head as it has been a while since I've been to liturgy, and of course such things don't come up constantly anyway). It is more or less as Fr. Lazarus has put it: a tree need not be a tree, nor a man a man, etc. Things that would otherwise be rather plain or straightforward can be interpreted allegorically, such that they may be taken as a type of something else or symbol of a deeper reality. I am reminded of the word given Fr. Mark Gruber OSB by one of the old monks of the desert in his "Return to Eden" book (I'm sure I've posted it here before, so I won't again, as it's not of Patristic vintage, nor strictly concerning the Bible), wherein the faith is likened to the alphabet, and letters in turn to symbolize the eagle and the home, and from there God and man, as united in Christ Jesus our Lord. Such very simple but multi-layered insights are common to this general approach. I've never taken it to be against the Antiochian or more literal understanding, but it does seem to be somewhat characteristic of Coptic spirituality.

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 08:44:22 PM »
St. John Chrysostom is not one of the Desert Fathers, Iconodule.

Which is probably why Iconodule referred to St. John Chrysostom as a Holy Father, rather than a Desert Father.
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Offline dzheremi

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Re: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2012, 08:48:44 PM »
If you re-read the OP, Cognomen, it seems that Gabriel takes Fr. Lazarus to mean the Desert Fathers:

Quote
He said the Alexandrian method is the method the Holy Fathers (desert fathers) used

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2012, 09:01:37 PM »
If you re-read the OP, Cognomen, it seems that Gabriel takes Fr. Lazarus to mean the Desert Fathers:

Quote
He said the Alexandrian method is the method the Holy Fathers (desert fathers) used

Right, but I think Iconodule was just responding to the Holy Fathers bit. The error, confusing Holy Fathers with Desert Fathers occurred elsewhere.  We may Proceed.   ;)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 09:02:20 PM by Cognomen »
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Fr. Lazarus on Alexandrian vs Antiochian Bible Interpretation
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2012, 09:29:50 PM »
The error, confusing Holy Fathers with Desert Fathers occurred elsewhere.
Nope, it wasn't an error as I was being more specific, and not equating the two, in the parenthesis.

 We may Proceed.   ;)
Yes, let's do so.  :)
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