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The Questions on the Octateuch: On Genesis and Exodus (The Library of Early Christianity) [Paperback]

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Pages   345
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.16" Width: 5.45" Height: 0.96"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2008
Publisher   Catholic University of America Press
ISBN  0813214998  
EAN  9780813214993  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
Shortly before his death (ca. 460), as his health was failing, Theodoret decided to undertake a monumental project of exegesis. In the more than two decades of his episcopacy, he had commented on both the prophets and the sapiential literature of the Hebrew Scriptures. Now he would expound the historical books. For his commentary on the Octateuch, he adopted the format of question and answer. This device allowed the expositor to focus attention on particularly challenging passages that could give rise to misunderstanding. Long experience had taught him that "careless reading of holy Scripture is the cause of error among ordinary people." Intimately acquainted with every detail of the text, well-informed about contemporary Judaism, and steeped in the works of previous interpreters, he makes his way through a massive body of text with concision, a sure sense for the significant and the controversial, and a thoughtful moderation respectful of the accomplishments of Alexandrian, as well as Antiochene, biblical scholarship.

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More About Theodoret of Cyrus, John F. Petruccione & Robert C. Hill

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert C. Hill, a founder and honorary fellow of the Australian Catholic University's Centre for Early Christian Studies, was a distinguished biblical scholar best known for his prodigious talent as a translator of Patristic biblical commentaries on the Old Testament. Nearly 30 volumes of his translations have been published, many of them in the Fathers of the Church series. In recognition of this work in 2003 he was awarded the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by Pope John Paul II. Most recently, Hill translated the first two volumes in the new Library of Early Christianity Series, Theodoret of Cyrus's Questions on the Octateuch.

Robert C. Hill has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Library of Early Christianity

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Theodoret of Cyrus, the Questions on the Octateuch: On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (The Library of Early Christianity)
Theodoret of Cyrus, the Questions on the Octateuch: On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (The Library of Early Christianity)
Item: 140411

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An excellent tool for students and scholars  Jul 23, 2008
This handsomely printed volume begins with an introduction to the life and works of Theodoret, a Syrian bishop from the great metropolis of Antioch. (His cognomen "of Cyrus" comes from the fact that he was elected bishop of this latter city when he was about 30 years of age.) This introduction is followed by a separate introduction to the Greek text of the work and a bibliography of works on Theodoret and related authors and topics.

This book displays a critical edition of the Greek text on the left-hand page and an English translation on the right-hand page. The English translation of this volume, and the other one in the set, was done by the late Robert C. Hill. It is a very good literary translation, rather than a literal translation. This means that the translation conveys the meaning well, but that the reader will sometimes have to look carefully to determine the correspondences between the English and the Greek words. This format can be a great aid to students who have a basic knowledge of Greek but can get bogged down in the sometimes hard-to-follow word order.

The content of the book reminds me of modern study Bibles. There are questions that Theodoret evidently heard from ordinary churchgoers, followed by his answers, which often aim to clarify obscure or seemingly contradictory points. An example from early in the book might be in order:

Q: "If the earth was in existence, how did it come to be, since the historian says, 'The earth was in existence'?"

"The historian" is a reference to Moses. Theodoret showed little patience with this question, which was based on sloppy reading:

A: "This is a silly, foolish question. He who said, 'In the beginning God made heaven and earth,' did not say that the earth was eternal, but that it received its existence after, or along with, heaven. Furthermore, the historian did not simply say, 'The earth was in existence,' but connected it with what follows: 'The earth was invisible and formless.' That is, though made by the God of the universe, it was invisible, because still covered by the water, and formless, because not yet arrayed with growth or sprouting meadows, groves and crops."

The question and answer arise from the wording of the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament, which was (and still is) the one universally used by the Greek-speaking Church. The people who were asking the question were pulling a phrase out of context, and Theodoret said they had to read it in the context of the rest of the sentence. It seems such a simple point, but people have continued to employ similarly silly approaches to Bible reading up to this very day. So the lessons of Theodoret continue to be quite useful to us.

This is the first of two volumes containing Theodoret's *The Questions on the Octateuch,* published by the Catholic University of America Press. The Press plans these to be the first volumes in a series called the Library of Early Christianity, which will continue to publish bilingual editions of early Christian authors who wrote in various languages, not just Greek.

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