This essay begins with the distinction between two questions: why is patristic exegesis important, and why might a contemporary reader—particularly a university-trained biblical scholar—benefit from reading it? It observes that patristic exegesis has played an important role in the spiritual practice of lectio divina, and for this reason, it promises to help counter some of the ways in which the forces of professionalization and fragmentation in the theological disciplines undermine our ability to think theologically as exegetes and to converse with Christianity's long exegetical tradition. The essay argues that if biblical scholars are to find something of enduring value in patristic exegesis and some way of appropriating what we find there, we need a clearly articulated understanding of the relationship between the two Testaments of the Christian Bible, as well as an understanding of how Christ might be found in the first of those Testaments in a way that takes into account the ongoing life of these same biblical texts in Jewish interpretation and practice. The remainder of the essay explores three contemporary ways of conceiving of the relationship between the Testaments. The first and third of these allow for ways of reading the OT in light of the NT that avoid the dangers of supersessionism, while the second offers some cautions and touches on the place of Christian theological exegesis in the larger pluralistic context of biblical studies.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.