Why did early Christian authors interpret the biblical theophany narratives as manifestations of Christ? And how was this interpretation challenged by Augustine? This book explores the theological underpinnings of ancient Christian theophany interpretation, tracing its development into two major exegetical strands. Patristic exegesis of the theophanies involved polemic and the formation of Christian identity, the relationship between vision and spiritual transformation, and theological claims about knowing God through creation. While the christological interpretation developed within particular early Christian beliefs and logic, Augustine challenged it using similar logic and foundational beliefs. Through Augustine’s reconfigured reading, one may see the critical and creative capacity of patristic authors to adapt, challenge, and transform exegetical traditions.
Kari Kloos, Ph.D. (2004) in Theology, University of Notre Dame, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Regis University in Denver.
Table of contents
Part One: Why the Son? The foundations and development of literal Christological theophany exegesis
Chapter 1: The polemical-doctrinal strand: Identity and mediation
Chapter 2: The spiritual strand: Vision and transformation
Chapter 3: Theophany interpretation and pro-Nicene theology
Part Two: From Christ to triune God: Augustine’s critique of patristic theophany narrative exegesis
Chapter 4: Vision, signs, and Christ in Augustine’s early theophany narrative interpretation
Chapter 5: Augustine’s exegetical shift in De Trinitate
Chapter 6: The implications of Augustine’s theophany narrative exegesis
Scholars and advanced students interested in the history of biblical interpretation, patristics and early Christian studies, Augustine, and the development of Christian theology.