Historical criticism has revealed a gap between Scripture and the mainstream doctrines that define Christianity today. Not the least of these are the Trinity and two natures of Christ—widely accepted since the fifth century, but unfounded in historical readings of Scripture. How did these dogmas become so integral to the faith in the first place?
Frances M. Young tackles this monumental question in a culmination of decades of biblical and patristic research. The first of two volumes exploring the emergence of doctrine in the early church, Scripture, the Genesis of Doctrine reframes the relationship between Scripture and doctrine according to the intellectual context of the first few centuries CE. Young situates the early Christians’ biblical hermeneutic within the context of Greco-Roman learning without espousing historical relativism. Ultimately, Young argues that the scriptural canon and the Rule of Faith emerged concurrently in the early Church, and both were received as apostolic. The perceived gap between the two may in fact be the product of our modern assumptions rather than an ancient reality.
Nuanced and ecumenical, Scripture, the Genesis of Doctrine explores early Christians’ biblical hermeneutic, with an eye toward how we interpret the bible today. Young’s magisterial study holds widespread implications for not only patristics but also exegesis and systematic theology.
Table of Contents
1. Doctrine and scripture – mutually coinherent? What are the problems? 2. Rethinking the context 3. Reading texts; asking questions. 4. Summing up Scripture: from Gospel of Truth to Canon of Truth. 5. Divine Pedagogy – unearthing the intent of the Holy Spirit. 6. Creeds: from Confession to Dogma 7. Scripture the Genesis of Doctrine – Conclusions and Consequences
Frances M. Young is emeritus professor of theology at the University of Birmingham and a fellow of the British Academy.
“Frances Young has been instrumental in turning the modern tide toward serious reexamination of early Christian biblical interpretation, especially in her landmark study, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (1997). With this new work, she investigates afresh the complex interrelation between Scripture and doctrine, demonstrating multiple factors in play: the communal or ‘school’ context of interpretation; habits of reading Scripture and ‘summarizing’ its core message for the church; matters of hermeneutical and confessional reasoning; and much more. Young’s study will greatly advance ongoing research into Scripture’s integral in virtually every aspect of the life of the early church.” —Paul M. Blowers Milligan University
“A masterful treatment of the interdependent relationship between Scripture and doctrine by a virtuoso of theology. Drawing upon decades of research into the ways in which exegetical practices and theological reflection developed in the early centuries, and occasionally revising earlier positions, Frances Young shows how the modern chasm between the two may be bridged, so opening a way, by a ‘postmodern turn,’ to a reinvigorated doctrinal reading of Scripture as a whole centered upon Christ.” —John Behr University of Aberdeen
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