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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Conclusion

We return to a dominant theme of this essay: the practical nature of the church's use of Scripture. The meaning of Scripture was developed through its use both to indoctrinate the Christian masses and to protect the church's power against its competitors. On the pastoral level, the Bible could instruct, exhort, and console. Beyond this, the Great Church used its Scriptural resources to counter the views of pagans, Jews, and “heretics.” Thus Christians early tried to wrest exegetical control over the Old Testament from the Jews, and later, employed Scripture to pronounce definitive interpretations against rival Christian groups. To these ends, typological and allegorical exegesis played a decisive role. Allegorical interpretation is a means by which a community deals with and claims its sacred text; but it is also a way of securing that text against rivals. Early Christian Biblical interpretation did not arise in the ancient equivalent of an ivory tower, but on an ecclesiastical battleground. Then, as now, there was no such thing as disinterested interpretation.

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Oxford University Press

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