Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sanctified Vision and Praying the Bible

There has recently been written (2005) a very good short introduction (139 pages) to Patristic exegesis called 'Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible' by John J O'Keefe and R R Reno (The Johns Hopkins University Press). I bought it because I had read it praised very highly by ELCA theologian David Yeago. It is one of the most refreshing books on the church fathers that I have read.

One quote: "However opaquely, Ignatius expresses the single most defining feature of patristic exegesis: the presumption that knowing the identity of Jesus Christ is the basis for right reading of the sacred writings of the people of Israel" (p28).

Up at Synod a couple of months back Adam Cooper and I, in our spare time, read through sections of Mariano Magrassi’s ‘Praying the Bible: An Introduction to Lectio Divina’ (The Liturgical Press, 1998 – also short – 126 pages). This book is a gem. It is a sophisticated, scholarly, and amazingly clear and simple introduction into the monastic tradition of reading the Scriptures.

One quote (which is a quote of Smaragdus): “Reading enables us to learn what we do not know, meditation enables us to retain what we have learned, and prayer enables us to live what we have retained. Reading Sacred Scripture confers on us two gifts: it makes the soul’s understanding keener, and after snatching us from the world’s vanities, it leads us to the love of God.”

Beautiful; and a nice complement to Luther’s meditation, oratio, and tentatio.

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