I’ve started studying theology, having enrolled in the correspondence course of the Saint-Serge Institute, as translated and provided by the Centrum voor Theologische Vorming Johannes de Doper in Brussels. One Saturday every month I travel to Brussels to receive a wad of papers and some face-to-face tuition. I’ve had only one lesson yet, because Irina was away the weekend of the second lesson, and the third Saturday, coming up now, we already have exams.
- Author: V. Jean Breck
- Title: Theoria — De orthodoxe interpretatie van de Heilige Schrift
- Pages: 54
- Published: 1986
- Publisher: Instituut voor Orthodoxe Theologie Saint-Serge
That means that I’ve had two months instead of one to go through the stack of papers, and I have a hard time coping. The papers have been translated from the original French (mostly written by native speakers of Russian, I think) into Flemish, and Flemish is not Dutch. Indeed, at one point I had to carefully translate because I was missing the point. And writing in English about what I read in Flemish is even harder. And I lack the theological vocabulary, I find.
The best paper of this month’s lot was, I think, Theoria. Despite counting only 54 pages, it took me a month… The paper describes and argues an Orhtodox way of interpreting the Bible, both Old and New Testament, constrasting the Alexandrian, or mainly allegorical exegetical tradition with the Antioch, or mainly typological exegetical tradition.
The author, V. Jean Breck, makes a strong case for using typology in an Orthodox egesis, but he is perhaps a little to deferent to the western, Protestant exegetical tradition, which is purely historical and text-critical. Orthodox exegesis exists to support the Church and the believers, and has therefore a different writ.
I will need to re-read this paper, because I don’t think I understood everything correctly, and because I don’t think I remember everything quite correctly. The second time will be easier, no doubt.