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The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible A richly illustrated account of the story of the Bible written by leading scholars.

The Bible in Contemporary Eastern Christianity

Since Origen of Alexandria bequeathed to us the use of philology, logic, art, grammar, geography, history, and textual variations, commentators on the scriptures have never abandoned this approach. Tracing back words in their Hebrew origin or in the Septuagint remained an essential element in understanding the biblical text, in order to establish the best and the clearest reading of the Bible. But two important remarks must be noted. In the late work of the very learned Bishop Theophylact of Bulgaria, his commentaries on the four gospels reveal an adherence to the patristic method.

Private Collection/Bridgeman Art Library.

  • 1. Defining the goal of the text by reading it as part of a theme rather than an isolated two or three lines.

  • 2. The variations between the Gospel of John and the synoptics were treated according to the Rule of Faith; that is to say the problem is noted and discussed according to the articles of the creed. In other words, the historicity of the sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John was not raised, despite their different context and style and in spite of the fact that they are not reported in the other three gospels because

    • (a) they do not contradict the confession of the church;
    • (b) they confirm the teaching of the church especially regarding the eucharist and the doctrine of the Trinity. Thus the historicity of the Gospel of John is not a question that can be raised as a subject because the Gospel of John is part of the Christian life which is deeply rooted in the doctrine of the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, and the celebration of the eucharist. The dichotomy between the Bible and theology has never succeeded in splitting theology, faith, and worship. In many Orthodox schools of theology of higher theological education, very able scholars teach new methods, which were developed in Europe in the last hundred years. These new methods confirm the old approach; tradition comes before the formation of the canon and the reliability of the confession of faith.

It is essential to note that the doctrine of biblical revelation as was developed in western Christian theology since Thomas Aquinas is not known in eastern Christian theology. God revealed himself in Christ and he is the only divine revelation.

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