The Emergence of the Church's Culture of Biblical Interpretation and Theology: Rhetoric, Philology, and Gnosticism in the 2nd Century

Apr 15, 2015
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Lewis AyresDurham University


Lewis Ayres (University of Durham)

To understand the exegetical culture that nurtured and formed classical Patristic exegesis, we must attend to some understudied features of the generation of Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. This generation, in response to the exegetical cultures of ‘Gnostic’ thinkers, developed the exegetical practice that became fundamental for all later Christian doctrinal disputes and for Christian speculative thought. Bringing this historical moment into clearer focus helps us think about the character of Christian thought today.

Lewis Ayres is Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology at the University of Durham, UK. He previously taught at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He was also a Distinguished Fellow of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (2014-2015). Among his books are Nicaea and Its Legacy (Oxford 2004/6) and Augustine and the Trinity (Cambridge 2010/14).  He is currently working on a book entitled As It Is Written: Ancient Literary Criticism, Hellenization and the Rise of Scripture 150-250 for Princeton University Press.