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Scriptural ExegesisThe Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination: Essays in Honour of Michael Fishbane$
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Deborah A. Green and Laura S. Lieber

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206575.001.0001

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Fabula, between μῦθος and אגדה‎: concerning Christian exegesis during the Middle Ages

Fabula, between μῦθος and אגדה‎: concerning Christian exegesis during the Middle Ages

Translated from the French by Timothy Bellamah, OP

Chapter:
(p.268) 15 Fabula, between μῦθος‎ and אגדה‎: concerning Christian exegesis during the Middle Ages
Source:
Scriptural Exegesis
Author(s):

Gilbert Dahan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206575.003.00016

In providing a model of allegorical interpretation and in condemning the fabula on several occasions, St Paul laid the foundation for Christian exegesis. During the following generations Christian and Jewish exegesis went separate and mutually opposing ways, the former opting for allegorical exegesis, the latter for ‘mythic’ exegesis. However, it appears that any traditional confessional exegesis has need of these two elements — allegory and myth. Under diverse forms, myth reappears in western Christian thought, during the 12th and 13th centuries — first myths of pagan antiquity, then Jewish agadot. The constant occurrences of the expression Iudei fabulantur in 13th-century exegesis seem to respond to this need. By means of a brief linguistic analysis and an examination of commentaries on the pastoral epistles in which Paul condemns myth, this chapter attempts to lay the groundwork for a broader inquiry to ascertain the place of myth or of fabula in Christian exegesis.

Keywords:   Pastoral Epistles, St Paul, Christian exegesis, Jewish exegesis

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