Hearing the Scriptures: Liturgical Exegesis of the Old Testament in Byzantine Orthodox Hymnography

ISBN : 9780190239633

Eugen J. Pentiuc
456 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Nov 2021
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Throughout the ages, interpreters of the Christian scriptures have been wonderfully creative in seeking to understand and bring out the wonders of these ancient writings. That creativity has often been overlooked by recent scholarship, concentrated as it is in the so-called critical period. In this study, Eugen J. Pentiuc illuminates the remarkable way in which the Byzantine hymnographers (liturgists) expressed their understanding of the Old Testament in their compositions, an interpretive process that he terms "liturgical exegesis." In authorship and methodology, patristic exegesis and liturgical exegesis are closely related. Patristic exegesis, however, is primarily linear and sequential, proceeding verse by verse, while liturgical exegesis offers a more imaginative and eclectic mode of interpretation, ranging over various parts of the Bible. In this respect, says Pentiuc, liturgical exegesis resembles cubist art. To illuminate the multi-faceted creativity of liturgical exegesis, Pentiuc has chosen the vast and rich hymnography of Byzantine Orthodox Holy Week as a case study, offering a detailed lexical, biblical, and theological analysis of selected hymns. His analysis reveals the many different and imaginative ways in which creative liturgists incorporated and interpreted scriptural material in these hymns. By drawing attention to the way in which the bible is used by Byzantine hymnographers in the living Orthodox tradition, Hearing the Scriptures makes a ground-breaking contribution to the history of the reception of the scriptures.


Note on Editions and Translations
Introduction: Brief Overview of Byzantine Orthodox Holy Week
PART I: Hearing the Scriptures through Holy Week Hymns
1. Chastity: Joseph and the Midnight Bridegroom
Holy Monday
2. Loyalty: Three Youths in a Fiery Furnace
Holy Tuesday
3. Bravery: A Daring Woman and a Hiding Eve
Holy Wednesday
4. Offering: Wisdom's Freely Shared Banquet
Holy Thursday
5. Suffering: The Slaughtered Lamb and the Distraught Ewe
Good Friday
6. Overcoming: Jonah and the Never-Setting Light
Holy Saturday
PART II: Liturgical Exegesis
7. Key Features and Hermeneutical Procedures
Glossary of Liturgical Terms
Index of Biblical Passages
Index of Names and Topics

About the author: 

Eugen J. Pentiuc is the Archbishop Demetrios Chair of Biblical Studies and Early Christianity as well as a Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He is the author of The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition and numerous other works.

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