Reading in Christian Communities: Essays on Interpretation in the Early Church

Paperback / softback
The essays in this book honor and extend the work of Rowan A. Greer, Walter H. Gray Professor Emeritus of Anglican Studies at Yale University Divinity School, by exploring the connections between textual interpretation and the formation of religious identity. A diverse and prestigious group of biblical scholars, church historians, and theologians study the function that scripture plays in the creation and maintenance of faith communities and the ways that communal locations in turn shape the interpretation of scripture. The first part of the book examines specific examples of ancient biblical interpretation as a means of creating, maintaining, and challenging Christian identity in the pluralistic ancient world. Authors study acts of interpretation in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Physiologus, Gnostic literature, the fifth-century mosaic of the Church of Hosios David in Thessaloniki, and in the works of Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, John Chrysostom, and Porphyry of Tyre. Reading scripture emerges as a strategy for locating the reader and his or her community with respect to other Christians, Jews, and pagans. Part 2 of the volume considers the general problem of interpretation within Christian communities, whether ancient or modern, as they face the task of maintaining a coherent identity in a multicultural environment. Contributors to this book - all students, colleagues, and friends of Rowan Greer - are Charles A. Bobertz, David Brakke, Mary Rose D'Angelo, Stanley Hauerwas, Martha Meeks, Wayne Meeks, Frederick Norris, Richard Norris, Alan Scott, Arthur Bradford Shippee, Michael Bland Simmons, and Frederick Weidmann.