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Cyril of Alexandria's Trinitarian Theology of Scripture

CRAWFORD, MATTHEW,ROY (2012) Cyril of Alexandria's Trinitarian Theology of Scripture. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Cyril of Alexandria left to posterity a sizable body of exegetical literature. This thesis attempts to reconstruct his theology of Scripture in order to suggest that his exegetical practice is inseparable from, and must be interpreted in light of, his overarching theological vision. I argue that the most important intellectual factor shaping his exegesis is his Christologically focused, pro-Nicene Trinitarianism, an inheritance that he received from fourth-century authors. Cyril’s appropriation of pro-Nicene thought is evident in his theology of revelation and his theology of exegesis. Revelation, in his understanding, proceeds from the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit, following the order of Trinitarian relations. Moreover, this pattern applies to the inspiration of Scripture as well, insofar as inspiration occurs when the Son indwells human authors by the Spirit and speaks the words of the Father. Corresponding to this movement of God towards humanity in revelation is humanity’s growth in understanding that occurs according to a reverse pattern—in the Spirit, through the Son, unto the Father. This scheme applies broadly to Cyril’s soteriology, but also to his understanding of exegesis, since he regarded biblical interpretation as a means of participating in the divine life. More specifically, this Trinitarian pattern implies that the Spirit is required to read Scripture properly, and that in the act of interpretation the Spirit directs the reader to a Christological reading of Scripture, through which the believer gains a limited but genuine apprehension of the Trinitarian mystery. This process continues until the final eschatological vision when the types and riddles of Scripture will be done away with in light of the overwhelming clarity of the vision of the Father.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Cyril of Alexandria, Patristic Exegesis, Trinitarian Theology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Aug 2012 15:16

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