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GO ASK YOUR FATHERS: AN EXAMINATION OF

THE PATRISTIC METHOD OF EXEGESIS AND HOW


IT MAY IMPROVE CATHOLIC SCRIPTURE
STUDIES TODAY.

CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL LOFTON

In the last century, the method of exegesis used in Catholic Scripture studies has
neglected the method of exegesis used by the Church Fathers. As it stands today, modern
exegesis is in need of a supplemental way of approaching Sacred Scripture and the Patristic
method of exegesis is one such method. The Patristic method of exegesis will be defined and
examples of its use in the writings of the Church Fathers will be provided. After examining the
Patristic method of exegesis, an examination of the modern method of exegesis will be made.
Subsequently, examples of the deficiencies of modern exegesis, along with how the Patristic
method may offset these deficiencies, will be addressed.
I. How Did the Church Fathers Read Scripture?
In order to determine how the Patristic method of exegesis can improve Catholic
Scripture studies today, one must first examine how the Church Fathers read sacred Scripture.
The Church Fathers are widely known for their use of spiritual exegesis1. This method of
interpretation is one that interprets Scripture according to multiple senses2; usually numbered at
four. Though the actual doctrine of the four senses of Scripture3 (i.e. the quadriga) is
arguably of medieval development4, some maintain that the doctrine is explicit in the works of
St. John Cassian5 in the decadent era of the patristic period and in the Doctor of the Church St.
Bede.6 Be that as it may, it will be demonstrated that the Church Fathers used all four senses of

John L. McKenzie A Chapter in the History of Spiritual Exegesis: de Lubacs Histoire et Espirit,
Theological Studies 12 (1951): 365.
2
Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, II, B.
3
John Anthony McGuckin, The Westminster Handbook to Patristic Theology, The Westminster Handbooks
to Christian Theology, (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 10.
4
Ibid.
5
See John Cassian, Conferences of John Cassian, online edition:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/350814.htm, accessed online; II, 14, 8.
6
Bede, On Ezra and Nehemiah, trans. Scott DeGregorio, Translated Texts for Historians, vol. 47
(Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press, 2006), 1.
1

Scripture when interpreting the Bible,7 even if they were not always explicitly aware of the
doctrine of the four senses per se.
Before examining the four senses in the writings of the Church Fathers, it might be
helpful to establish that Catholic tradition in fact teaches Scripture has four senses. The eminent
theologian and Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, demonstrated that Scripture has four
senses8 in his renowned work Summa Theologica. Likewise St. Bonaventure, also a Doctor of
the Church, identifies four different senses in Scripture.9 These four senses, according to the
Catechism of the Catholic Church, are known as the literal, allegorical, moral (i.e. tropological)
and anagogical senses.10
The first sense of Scripture is the literal sense.11 This is the method by which one seeks
to interpret Scripture according to the meaning of the words themselves.12 In addition to
interpreting Scripture according to its literal sense, the Fathers of the Church also interpreted
Scripture according to its spiritual13 sense, which is known as spiritual exegesis14. This
method of exegesis can be defined as the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament in
light of Christ and the New Testament.15 Spiritual exegesis consists of three different senses by

Henri De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, trans. Mark Sebanc, Ressourcement:
Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought, vol. 1 (Grand Rapides, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 1998), xi.
8
Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 2nd rev. ed., tr. English Dominican Fathers, online edition:
http://newadvent.org/summa, accessed 4 June 2015; I, 1, 10.
9
Timothy Johnson, Bonaventure: Mystic of Gods Word (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1999), 41-44.
10
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition, 116-117.
11
Ibid., 116.
12
Ibid.
13
Ibid., 115.
14
Henri De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, trans. Mark Sebanc, Ressourcement:
Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought, vol. 1 (Grand Rapides, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 1998), ix.
15
Ibid. Also see Also see Charles Kannengiesser, Handbook of Patristic Exegesis: The Bible in Ancient
Christianity, vol. 1 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2004), 231.

which the Scriptures may be understood, all three based upon the literal sense.16 The first is the
allegorical sense17, in which the Old Testament serves as a type of Christ or His Church.18 The
second is known as the moral sense19 and this is the sense in which the events of the Old
Testament serve as moral instruction for the followers of the New Covenant.20 The third is
known as the anagogical sense, which is the sense in which scripture can be understood as
pointing to eternal things, such as heaven.21
The Patristic method of exegesis, which interpreted Scripture according to multiple
senses, was not invented by the Fathers. The Church Fathers merely continued the method of
exegesis laid out by the Biblical writers themselves, who also used the fourfold method of
interpreting Scripture.22 For example, Jesus affirmed the literal and historical sense of the
miracle of manna in the desert.23 St. Paul used the allegorical sense to prove that Hagar and
Sarah were types of the Old and New Covenants.24 Elsewhere, he used the moral sense to
demonstrate that the events of the Old Testament serve as instruction for the people living in the
New Covenant.25 In Revelation 21:2, the Apostle John used the allegorical sense as he
interpreted the literal city of Jerusalem anagogically as a type of the heavenly Jerusalem. These
are but a few examples of the use of spiritual exegesis in the writing of the New Testament,

16

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition, 116. Also see Charles Kannengiesser, Handbook of
Patristic Exegesis: The Bible in Ancient Christianity, vol. 1 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2004), 230.
17
Ibid., 117.
18
Ibid. Though the term allegory carries different meanings with different writers, here it is used to include
typology. Also see Charles Kannengiesser, Handbook of Patristic Exegesis: The Bible in Ancient Christianity, vol.
1 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2004), 251.
19
Ibid.
20
Ibid.
21
Ibid.
22
Henri De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, trans. Mark Sebanc, Ressourcement:
Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought, vol. 1 (Grand Rapides, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 1998), xi-xii.
23
John 6:58.
24
Gal. 4:24.
25
1 Cor. 10:11.

which indicates the Fathers of the Church were simply following the tradition of the sacred
writers of the New Testament when using spiritual exegesis.
The literal sense of Scripture is well established in the writings of the Church Fathers,
especially among the Fathers who followed the exegetical tradition of the Catechetical School of
Antioch26, such as St. John Chrysostom27, a noteworthy Doctor of the Church. Even in cases
when it would have been easier to approach Scripture according to its spiritual meaning, many of
the Church Fathers, such as Theophilus of Antioch28, wrestled to find the literal/historical
meaning of Scripture.29 It is true that some in the early Church from the Catechetical School of
Alexandria, such as Origen30 and Didymus the Blind31, had a tendency to downplay the literal
sense32 but others, such as St. Jerome were masters of exegeting Scripture according to its literal
sense33. For example, St Jerome, a Doctor of the Church, commenting on the disobedience of
the Jews in Jeremiah 7:27-28, was quick to state that this happened in part during the prophets
time34 clearly affirming the literal/historical meaning of these verses. Likewise, St. Bede,
while commenting on Ezra 2:2-3, which lists some of those who went into captivity in Babylon,
affirms the literal sense of the Babylonian captivity by addressing the historical nature of these

26

David S. Dockery, Biblical Interpretation Then and Now: Contemporary Hermeneutics in the Light of
the Early Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992), 103.
27
Ibid., 115.
28
Ibid., 103-104.
29
Ibid.
30
See Origen, Homilies on Leviticus 1-16, trans. Gary Wayne Barkley, The Fathers of the Church, vol. 83
(Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990), 15-16 where it is noted that Origen sometimes
rejected the literal sense of Scripture. Some, however, dispute this claim about Origen; see Brian E. Daley, S.J., Is
Patristic Exegesis Still Usable?: Reflections on Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms, Communio. 29, no.1
(Spring 2002): 190.
31
See Didymus the Blind, Commentary on Zechariah, trans. Robert C. Hill, The Fathers of the Church,
vol. 111 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2006), 13-14
32
Dockery, Biblical Interpretation Then and Now, 126.
33
Ibid., 129.
34
Jerome, Commentary on Jeremiah, ed Christopher A. Hall, trans. Michael Graves, Ancient Christian
Texts (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 53.

verses.35 St. Cyril of Alexandria, also a Doctor of the Church, in his Commentary on the Twelve
Prophets, attempts to address the literal/historical interpretation of Hosea 1:11, which reads,
And the people of Judah and the people of Israel shall be gathered together, and
they shall appoint for themselves one head; and they shall go up from the land, for
great shall be the day of Jezreel.36
These verses speak of Judah and Israel being under one ruler. For St. Cyril, this was
literally fulfilled under the leadership of Zerubbabel.37 Only after addressing the literal
sense did he attempt to discuss the spiritual sense of this passage.38
There is ample use of the allegorical sense in the writings of the Fathers, which was used
in regards to persons, places, things and even numbers.39 When examining the allegorical sense
in the writings of the Church Fathers, one must note St. Jerome, who serves as a wonderful
example of a balanced approach between the literal sense and the allegorical sense of Scripture40.
Neither rejecting the literal sense, nor neglecting the spiritual sense, this illustrious saint often
provided a twofold interpretation of each passage, one historical and the other spiritual.41
After commenting on the literal sense of the disobedience of the Jews in Jeremiah 7:27-28
mentioned above, the saint immediately shifted to the allegorical sense, seeing in their
disobedience a type of the rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish people.42 Similarly, in the

35

Bede and DeGregorio, On Ezra and Nehemiah, 27.


Hosea 1:11, RSV, Catholic Edition.
37
Cyril and Robert C. Hill, Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, trans. Robert C. Hill, The Fathers of the
Church, vol. 115 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2007), 60-61.
38
Ibid., 61-62.
39
Kannengiesser, Handbook of Patristic Exegesis: The Bible in Ancient Christianity, 242.
40
Dockery, Biblical Interpretation Then and Now: Contemporary Hermeneutics in the Light of the Early
Church, 135.
41
Jerome, Commentary on Jeremiah, xliii.
42
Ibid., 53.
36

prophet Jonah, St. Jerome sees a type of Christ according to the allegorical sense, while not
discrediting the literal sense of the book. For St. Jerome, the abandonment of the prophet Jonah
serves as an allegorical type of the Lord Jesus Himself, who was abandoned by his disciples
during his passion.43 Like St. Jerome, St. Bede excelled in the allegorical sense of Scripture.
This illustrious Doctor of the Church was able to find, when the bark of the text is peeled
back, something deeper and more sacred in the marrow of the spiritual sense44 Commenting
on 1 Kings 6:22, which speaks of the golden altar in the inner sanctuary45 of the temple, St.
Bede sees the golden altar as an allegorical type of the righteous man.46 On 2 Chronicles 4:6, the
same saint sees the sacrificial animals, which were washed in the temple basin, as an allegorical
type of Christian baptism.47 The eminent Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, often able to find
Christ in the Old Testament, also allegorized Scripture on occasion, as David S. Dockery noted,
He commented that the door of Noahs ark (Gen. 8:13) was representative of the wound made
in the side of Christ at his crucifixion.48
The moral sense of Sacred Scripture is pervasive in the writings of the Church Fathers.
For example, St. Gregory of Nyssa, a Doctor of the Church, used the moral sense of exegesis to a
great extent in his work entitled The Life of Moses. In this work, St. Gregory sees in the rods of
Pharaohs magicians49 a moral type of Satan who tries to corrupt the virtues of the Godly man50.

43
Jerome and John Litteral, The Glossa Ordinaria on the Prophet Jonah, trans. John Litteral, Consolamini
Commentary Series (West Monroe, Louisiana: Consolamini Publications, 2015), 5.
44
Bede and DeGregorio, On Ezra and Nehemiah, 1.
45
1 Kings 6:22, RSV, Catholic Edition.
46
Bede and Sean Connolly, On the Temple, trans. Sean Connolly, Translated Texts for Historians, vol. 21
(Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press, 1995) 44.
47
Ibid., 93.
48
Dockery, Biblical Interpretation Then and Now: Contemporary Hermeneutics in the Light of the Early
Church, 147.
49
Ex. 7:1-13.
50
Gregory of Nyssa and Abraham J. Malherbe and Everett Ferguson, The Life of Moses, trans. Abraham J.
Malherbe and Everett Ferguson, Harper Collins Spiritual Classics (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers,
2006), 48.

For St. Gregory, the invincible rod of virtue51 destroys the devices of trickery52 that Satan
introduces to corrupt the morals of the Godly man, just as the rod of Moses destroyed the rods of
the magicians. Likewise, Pope St. Gregory the Great, also a Doctor of the Church, made ample
use of the moral sense in his commentary on the Book of Job entitled Morals on the Book of Job.
In this work, he comments on Ezekiel 32:22 which says Assyria [Ashur in Gregorys edition] is
there, and all her company, their graves round about her,53 and identifies Assyria with Satan and
the graves with the hearts of those who follow him.54 In other words, for Gregory, this verse
depicts those who follow Satan and share in his condemned state.
The anagogical sense too was very prevalent in the writings of the Fathers.55 In the
Patristic era, this sense served for the contemplation of celestial things to come.56 One may
note St. John Cassian who, commenting on the city of Jerusalem, sees the city as an anagogical
type of heaven.57 Likewise, St. Gregory Nazianzen makes use of this same anagogical
interpretation of Jerusalem used by St. John Cassian in his writings.58 St. Augustine, in his most
famous work entitled The City of God, makes use of the anagogical sense by interpreting the
Sabbath as a type of heaven.59
II. How Do Catholic Scripture Studies Approach the Bible Today?

51

Ibid.
Ibid.
53
Ezekiel 32:22, RSV, Catholic Edition.
54
Gregory the Great, Commentary on Job, ed. John Litteral and David Phillips, Consolamini Commentary
Series (West Monroe, Louisiana: Consolamini Publications), 209.
55
Kannengiesser, Handbook of Patristic Exegesis: The Bible in Ancient Christianity, 256.
56
Ibid., 257.
57
See John Cassian, Conferences of John Cassian, online edition:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/cassian/conferences.html, accessed 6 June 2015; II, 14, 8.
58
Henri De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, trans. E. M. Macierowski,
Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought, vol. 2 (Grand Rapides, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 2000), 185.
59
Augustine, The City of God, 22, 30, online edition:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120122.htm, accessed 6 June 2015, XXII; 30.
52

Now that the Patristic method of exegesis has been examined, one must examine how
Catholic Scripture studies approach the Bible today. The historical-critical method is the
dominant method of exegesis in modern Catholic Scripture studies.60 This method is defined as
the attempt to shed light upon the historical processes which gave rise to biblical texts61 The
historical-critical method consists of three disciplines, textual criticism, form criticism and
redaction criticism.62 Textual criticism is the discipline that seeks to determine the original
reading of the author of Sacred Scripture. In other words, it examines the various textual
variants extant today and determines which variant is the original reading.63 Form criticism
attempts to determine to which genre a particular book in the Bible belongs.64 Redaction
criticism endeavors to determine which sources were used by the writer of Sacred Scripture in
writing their part of Scripture.65
Catholic Scripture studies today tend to neglect the Church Fathers. This is generally due
to the bias that the Church Fathers engaged in an exegetical method that was deficient. In fact,
the Congregation for Catholic Education noted this bias when it stated [m]odern exegesis, that
makes use of historical and literary criticism, casts a shadow on the exegetical contributions of

60

Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, online edition:
https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM, accessed 6 June 2015; Introduction, A. Also see
Marcellino DAmbrosio, Henri de Lubac and the Critique of Scientific Exegesis, Communio 19, no. 3 (Fall 1992):
366 and Kelly, George Anthony, The New Biblical Theorists: Raymond E. Brown and Beyond (Ann Arbor, Mich:
Servant Books, 1983) 12.
61
Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, online edition:
https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM, accessed 6 June 2015; I, 2.
62
Kelly, George Anthony, The New Biblical Theorists: Raymond E. Brown and Beyond (Ann Arbor, Mich:
Servant Books, 1983) 14-16.
63
Ibid., 14.
64
Ibid., 15.
65
Ibid., 16.

the fathers, who are considered simplistic and basically useless for an in-depth knowledge of
Sacred Scripture.66
In and of itself, historical-criticism is useful, and even necessary,67 However, it does
contain some tendencies that, if unabated, can be considered harmful. This is why the Patristic
method of exegesis is needed to complement the historical-critical method prevalent in Catholic
Scripture studies today.68
III. How Can Returning to the Patristic Method of Exegesis Improve Catholic Scripture
Studies Today?
After examining the Patristic method of exegesis, along with the modern method, one is
prepared to address how a return to the Patristic method of exegesis may improve Catholic
Scripture studies today. As it stands, some believe the method of Scripture studies in Catholic
circles today is incomplete.69 This has been noted by the philosopher Maurice Blondel70 and the
famous theologian and cardinal Henri de Lubac,71 among others. Thus, some suggest that the
Patristic method of exegesis should be used to complement the exegetical method used in
Catholic Scripture studies today. For example, the aforementioned Henri de Lubac believed that
the Patristic method of exegesis must be used in Biblical studies today.72 Similarly, the
Pontifical Biblical Commission has noted that some are returning to the Patristic method of

Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction on the Study of the Fathers of the Church in
Formation of Priests, Origins 19, no. 34 (January 1990) 552.
67
Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, online edition:
https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM, accessed 6 June 2015; II, 1.
68
Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction on the Study of the Fathers of the Church in
Formation of Priests, Origins 19, no. 34 (January 1990) 552.
69
Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, online edition:
https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM, accessed 6 June 2015; Introduction, A.
70
Marcellino DAmbrosio, Henri de Lubac and the Critique of Scientific Exegesis, Communio 19, no. 3
(Fall 1992): 373.
71
Ibid., 384.
72
Ibid., 366.
66

10

exegesis, along with its emphasis on the spiritual sense of Scripture.73 Even Pope St. John Paul
II expressed the importance of returning to the Patristic method of exegesis when the Pontifical
Biblical Commission released its document entitled The Interpretation of the Bible in the
Church.74 Be that as it may, some may wonder if it is really necessary to supplement modern
exegesis with the Patristic method of exegesis. The following are just a few reasons why modern
exegesis would benefit from the use of the Patristic method of exegesis.
First, modern exegesis, via the historical-critical method, tends to be practically
atheistic75 in the way it approaches sacred Scripture. That is the modern method of exegesis
has a tendency to implicitly deny Gods providence in history76, looking only for natural
explanations of events in Scripture, rather than supernatural or preternatural explanations. A
Patristic approach to Scripture may offset this tendency in modern exegesis, as the awareness of
Gods providence was strongly evident in Patristic writers when they commented on Sacred
Scripture.77
Second, as per Henri de Lubac, the modern method of exegesis has a tendency of being
too academic and not something that actually makes an impact upon a persons personal life.78
Likewise, George Anthony Kelly stated that the historical-critical method has a tendency to
make the Scriptures more distant for the average layman.79 Sacred Scripture was given to

73

Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, online edition:
https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM, accessed 6 June 2015; Preface.
74
Msgr. John F. McCarthy, Neo-Patristic Exegesis Urgently Needed, online edition:
http://www.rtforum.org/study/lesson23.html, accessed 5 June 2015; 2.
75
Brian E. Daley, S.J., Is Patristic Exegesis Still Usable?: Reflections on Early Christian Interpretation of
the Psalms, Communio. 29, no.1 (Spring 2002): 191.
76
Ibid..
77
Ibid., 194.
78
Marcellino DAmbrosio, Henri de Lubac and the Critique of Scientific Exegesis, Communio 19, no. 3
(Fall 1992), 378.
79
Kelly, George Anthony, The New Biblical Theorists: Raymond E. Brown and Beyond (Ann Arbor, Mich:
Servant Books, 1983) 146.

11

mankind for the sake of his salvation,80 not simply to the scholar for the sake of study. Thus, it is
necessary that Scripture be used in a way that impacts a persons personal life. The Patristic
method of exegesis is a wonderful way to offset this deficiency in the historical-critical method,
as it makes use of the moral sense of Scripture. The writings of St. Augustine may also serve as
a corrective measure, as he often focused on the practical use of Scripture81.
Third, De Lubac also noted that the historical-critical method can, at times, be
problematic because it tends to get bogged down with the historical facts of Scripture rather than
searching into its deeper meaning.82 Similarly, Maurice Blondel, addresses the fact that the
historical- critical method merely gets at the external meaning of Scripture, not its internal
meaning.83 Pope Leo XIII stated that one should not neglect the spiritual sense of Scripture
found in the writings of the Fathers84, and thus modern exegesis needs something to supplement
it. The method used by the Patristic writers is a perfect way to offset this tendency in the
historical-critical method, since it concerns itself with the spiritual meaning of the text through
use of the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses of Scripture.
Fourth, modern exegesis tends to cast doubt upon, or even deny, that Sacred Scripture is
infallible. For example, the famous historical-critic Father Raymond Brown taught that there are

80

Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, online edition:


http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_deiverbum_en.html, accessed 6 June 2015; III, 11.
81
Dockery, Biblical Interpretation Then and Now: Contemporary Hermeneutics in the Light of the Early
Church, 138.
82
Marcellino DAmbrosio, Henri de Lubac and the Critique of Scientific Exegesis, Communio 19, no. 3
(Fall 1992), 377.
83
Ibid., 373.
84
Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, online edition:
http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18111893_providentissimus-deus.html,
accessed 6 June 2015; 15.

12

historical errors in the Bible85, a view which according to George A. Kelly leads to
skepticism86 and makes the faith incredible87 rather than a view which builds faith. Since
the view that there are errors in Scripture is contrary to the ancient and unchanging faith of the
Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and
more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican88, a more faithful approach to Sacred
Scripture is needed. This is another example of how the Patristic method of exegesis can be of
great benefit to modern exegesis, since it is adamant that the literal sense of Scripture is without
error. For example, Pope St. Clement I, writing in the first century, explicitly stated nothing
unjust or fraudulent is written in them [Holy Scripture].89
In conclusion, the modern method of exegesis is in desperate need of a supplemental
approach to Sacred Scripture since it is incomplete, assumes an atheistic approach to Scripture, is
inaccessible to the average person, neglects the spiritual sense of Scripture and has a tendency to
undermine the infallibility of the word of God. As previously stated, the Patristic method of
exegesis is one such method which can be used to correct these deficiencies in modern exegesis.
The Patristic method of exegesis was defined and examples of its use in the writings of the
Church Fathers were demonstrated. After examining the Patristic method of exegesis, the
modern method of exegesis was explained. Lastly, examples of the deficiencies of modern

85

Kelly, The New Biblical Theorists: Raymond E. Brown and Beyond, 149. See also p. 157 in the same
source where Raymond E. Brown is quoted as saying all scripture is not inerrant.
86
Ibid., 150.
87
Ibid., 153.
88
Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, online edition:
http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18111893_providentissimus-deus.html,
accessed 6 June 2015; 20.
89
William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, vol. 1 (Collegeville, Minn: The Liturgical Press,
1970), 11. See p. 413 in the same source for additional citations on the infallibility of Scripture in Patristic writings.

13

exegesis, along with how the Patristic method of exegesis may offset these deficiencies were
provided.

14

Works Cited
Aquinas, SummaTheologica, 2nd rev. ed., tr. English Dominican Fathers, Available online:
http://newadvent.org/summa. Accessed 4 June 2015
Augustine, The City of God, 22, 30, Available online:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120122.htm. Accessed 6 June 2015.
Bede, and Scott DeGregorio. On Ezra and Nehemiah. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press,
2006.
Bede, and Sean Connolly. Bede, On the temple. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1995.
Bonaventure, and Timothy J. Johnson. Bonaventure: Mystic of God's Word. Hyde Park, NY:
New City Press, 1999.
Cassian, John, Conferences of John Cassian. Available online:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/cassian/conferences.html. Accessed 6 June 2015.
Catechism of the Catholic Church. Second Edition. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana,
1997.
Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction on the Study of the Fathers of the Church in
Formation of Priests, Origins 19, no. 34 (January 1990)
Cyril, and Robert C. Hill. Commentary on the Twelve Prophets Volume 1. Washington, D.C.:
Catholic University of America Press, 2007.
Daley, Brian, E. S.J., Is Patristic Exegesis Still Usable?: Reflections on Early Christian
Interpretation of the Psalms, Communio. 29, no.1 (Spring 2002).
Didymus, and Robert C. Hill. Commentary on Zechariah. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University
of America Press, 2006.
Dockery, David S. Biblical Interpretation Then and Now: Contemporary Hermeneutics in the
Light of the Early Church. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House, 1992.
Gregory the Great, Commentary on Job, ed. John Litteral and David Phillips, Consolamini
Commentary Series (West Monroe, Louisiana: Consolamini Publications), 209.
Jerome and John Litteral, The Glossa Ordinaria on the Prophet Jonah, trans. John Litteral,
Consolamini Commentary Series (West Monroe, Louisiana: Consolamini Publications,
2015)
Jerome, Commentary on Jeremiah, ed Christopher A. Hall, trans. Michael Graves, Ancient
Christian Texts (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2011)

15

Jurgens, W. A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: A Source-Book of Theological and Historical
Passages. Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 1970.
Kannengiesser, Charles. Handbook of Patristic Exegesis: The Bible in Ancient Christianity.
Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Kelly, George Anthony. The New Biblical Theorists: Raymond E. Brown and Beyond. Ann
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