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Archbishop Calls for Listening and Unity

Archbishop Calls for Listening and Unity Justin Welby Appeals to General Synod Before Vital Debate The Archbishop of Canterbury has appealed to General Synod for greater listening and unity. He addressed the membership ahead of their three-day gathering, expected to...

Anglican Myth #3: The Bishop is the Focus of Unity

Anglican Futures Anglican Myth #3: The Bishop is the Focus of Unity "Plural Truth", "Walking Together", call it what you like, in the Archbishop of Canterbury's understanding of the church, God no longer speaks clearly through the Scriptures, instead he speaks through...

St Helen’s Bishopsgate “Pauses Contributions to Common Fund”

St Helen’s Bishopsgate “Pauses Contributions to Common Fund” The Standing Committee of the PCC of St Helen’s Bishopsgate has written to the Bishop of London to make plain their theological opposition to the proposed same-sex blessings proffered by the House of...

Hull Parish Rejects Authority of Archbishop of York Over False Teaching

Hull Parish Rejects Authority of Archbishop of York Over False Teaching St Andrew’s Kirk Ella has written a very direct letter to the Archbishop of York about his support for the same-sex blessings proposals.  In the letter, they pull no punches and announce that with...

Barnabas Fund Report: African Hospitals Give Thanks for PPE as Ebola Breaks Out in Uganda

Barnabas Fund Report African Hospitals Give Thanks for PPE as Ebola Breaks Out in Uganda Christian hospitals in Africa have given heartfelt thanks for a huge consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) shipped by Barnabas Aid’s medical.gives programme. “We want...

His Majesty’s Declaration Pertaining to the Use and Understanding the Articles of Religion

His Majesty’s Declaration Pertaining to the Use and Understanding the Articles of Religion Words do have meaning and particularly when they pertain to how we are to understand the doctrines of the Church.  In an earlier era, under a different monarch named Charles,...

Keene Review: Finding Your Best Identity

Finding Your Best Identity A short Christian introduction to identity, sexuality and gender Andrew Bunt IVP, 2022 (ISBN: 9781789744200, 90pp, £8.99)   The most casual glance at biblical passages such as Matthew 6 or 1 John 2 indicates that ‘the world’ is entirely...

CEEC Calls for Action

CEEC Calls for Action  Offers the Church of England a Better Way Forward After failing to provide a quick substantive answer to the Blessings Proposals  by the House of Bishops, the CEEC has responded in a very clear way in stating its opposition to what has been...

Thomas Cromwell: The Man Behind the Curtain

Thomas Cromwell The Man Behind the Curtain By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins So many “Thomases” in the 16th century, it’s hard to keep them straight! Thomas Cromwell was beheaded July 28, 1540 by order of King Henry VIII for the crime of treason and heresy, but his real...

New Bishop for Complementarian Churches Consecrated

New Bishop for Complementarian Churches Consecrated The Revd Rob Munro was consecrated as Bishop of Ebbsfleet on Thursday 2 February in a service at Canterbury Cathedral.   In keeping with the complementarian understanding of ministry, Bishop Munro was consecrated to...

Book Review: How the Church Fathers Read the Bible

How the Church Fathers Read the Bible

A Short Introduction

Gerald Bray

Lexham, 2022 (ISBN: 978-1-68359-583-0, 194pp, £19.99)

The formularies of the English church make frequent reference to the Patristic writers but these sources are little known or understood today. This is in large part due to the unfamiliar manner in which many of the church fathers used and interpreted the Bible. Gerald Bray does valiant work addressing such incomprehension in this introduction to patristic hermeneutics.

The work begins with a brilliantly judged review of the state of biblical materials and studies in the early Christian centuries, noting the role of texts such as the Septuagint, Hexapla, and Masoretic Bible.  Bray continues to a consideration of the various modes of interpretation commonly used at the time, persisting in inviting the reader to enter the thought-world of the fathers. This world, riven by divides of language, theology, and political allegiance, saw the evolution of the church from Jewish to gentile majority, from contending with pagan philosophers to internal heresies, and from a minority sect to a state religion. Each such change brought new insights and views on biblical revelation such that the fathers, spanning over five centuries, represent an almost bewildering tapestry. 

Bray is helpful in curating this rich inheritance, dispelling various common misconceptions as he goes, such as around the patristic use of the apocrypha. Each chapter blends notes on contemporary patristic scholarship with Bray’s own valuable insights and closes with a summary of the main developments reviewed. A chapter of case studies on the reception history of a few select scriptural texts is supported by the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and illustrates the effects of contrasting allegorical, spiritual, and literal approaches. A parallel chapter of studies on individual authors might have been appreciated and could assist a future edition. 

Edward Keene, Little Shelford

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