Last night faculty and students from academic institutions all over Texas gathered for the first Spring meeting of the Second Century Seminar (for more information about the seminar see here). Hosted at the University of Dallas, the participants listened to an interesting paper on the recovery of patristic exegesis by Keith Stanglin of Austin Graduate School of Theology.
The paper was a summary of two chapters entitled “Earliest Christian Exegesis” and “Later patristic Exegesis” taken from his forthcoming Baker volume: The Letter and Spirit of Biblical Interpretation: From the Early Church to Modern Practice.
Standlin’s thesis considers the transition between apostolic exegesis reflected in the New Testament and later interpretive assumptions and methods in the patristic period. He argues that the church not only received inspired texts but also modeled the ways of reading Scripture found in those apostolic writings. In short, the early church read Scripture like the apostles. He then suggested that pastors and other Christians who read Scripture should reconsider some of these assumptions and methods as they conduct their own Bible reading.
David Wilhite of Truett Theology Seminary offered a generally positive response to the paper, though he raised some potential issues for discussion. A few of these included questioning some anti-Semitic views in patristic readings of the Old Testament and considering how we might recover patristic exegesis without neglecting some of the helpful developments of critical Biblical scholarship.
The evening was a good start to the spring semester and a great chance for Southwestern students and faculty interested in patristics to gather together and interact with other students and scholars in our state.
We all look forward to the next seminar in April!