Scripture in Tradition: The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church
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Scripture in Tradition: The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church [Paperback]

John Breck
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Book Description

October 31, 2001

The Eastern Church Fathers stressed that the Bible is not sui generis but was born and shaped in a community of faith. They understood Scripture to be an essential element of Holy Tradition: the apostolic witness passed down and developed into the fundamental teachings of Orthodox Christianity.

This book offers a fresh look at the way Eastern patristic writers used Scripture in elaborating what would become the body of Orthodox doctrine. It begins with a discussion of the aims and methods of biblical interpretation as they were developed among the Greek Fathers. The second section introduces the reader to the ancient literary form known as chiasmus and shows how important a proper "chiastic" reading of the biblical text can be for revealing its "literal" meaning.

The final section takes up several crucial issues concerning the Orthodox doctrines of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Raising from a new perspective the divisive question of the filioque, it demonstrates the continuing relevance of the Nicene Creed for expressing the most basic and significant teachings of Orthodoxy: God as Trinity and God incarnate. These doctrines reflect as clearly as any others the way Scripture takes shape in Tradition, while it serves as the ground and measure of Tradition.

The Very Rev. John Breck was Professor of New Testament and Ethics at St Vladimir's Seminary from 1984 to 1996. He is presently Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Ethics at St Sergius Theological Institute, Paris, France, and with his wife, Lyn, directs the St Silouan Retreat Center near Charleston, SC.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr; First Edition edition (October 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881412260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881412260
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowing God and ourselves in the Scriptures August 16, 2010
By matt
Aside from the product description, which is accurate, I would like to add a few points.

First, it's refreshing to see some solid material addressing the bible in Orthodoxy, as it is sad but true to say that most Orthodox are not too familiar with the scriptures. It's true that experientially Orthodox, through their worship which is almost entirely scripture (and totally scriptural), have a strong experience of the actual meaning of the Bible. But it would be equally useful to be engaged in the text of God's Word on a personal and devotional sense, especially when the true sense is already given in the Church. There would be no reinventing the wheel. Chapters 1 and 4 address these issues.

Chapters 2 and 3 are excellent introductions to reading the scriptures within the patristic tradition. Very good material looking at what is meant by the literal, allegorical and typological meanings, and how this related to worship of the God who has revealed Himself to us in His Son and Spirit. This is important, because for the Orthodox there is no real understanding of God apart from the Spirit's indwelling in the believer.

I found chapters 6 and 7 to be appropriate for the book's theme, but too technical for general readership, especially when large sections in Greek are not even transliterated. My guess is that these two chapters came form journals and were just reprinted.

Chapter 8 is a detailed overview of Mary, the Mother of God, in the New Testament. More could have been made of this theme, however, if Breck had shown how the Old Testament was exegeted regarding her and her Son, Jesus, in the patristic and NT sources.

Chapters 9-12 are concerned with Christ and the Spirit in Scripture and Tradition.
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