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60 2 Hilary’s Principles of Exegesis o illustrate his approach to principles of interpreta-  tion, Hilary develops two extensive comparisons at   Instructio 24 and on Psalm 13. By extension the same illustrations and principles will guide our understanding of his Tractatus. In the first passage, Instructio 24, he uses a plan of a generic city as an extended metaphor for the scriptural text. He uses this parallel “to find the appropriate key to open each individual door to buildings in a city” in order to demonstrate the challenge to interpret Scripture. This example can be extended to present the challenge that confronts us to identify integrating themes to open Hilary’s diverse text for our understanding . Thus the “keys to the city” with which Hilary interprets the Psalms help us unlock the Treatise. Moreover, this passage is the first instance of his polyvalent use of the city metaphor that he also applies to his model for the Christian life. To explore further the interpretation of an authoritative text, Hilary introduces his second comparison at Tr. Ps.13.1. Here he explores parallels between imperial and Christian modes of discourse. Together these comparisons set up his basic themes and objectives for interpreting the book of the Psalms. These two passages frame my discussion of Hilary’s application of Christian exegetical methods , which are foundational to Hilary’s contributions to ChrisT Hilary’s Principles of Exegesis ³ 61 tology and Pneumatology. These themes account for the unity and the power of the biblical text, which has a universal application, across time, place, and social classifications. Both comparisons also highlight Hilary’s distinctive appeal to his audience, with whom he shares the Latin rhetorical background of the educated elite. Moreover, the first comparison with “keys to the city” presents the issue of Hilary’s relation to his Greek source as clearly as any other passage in his Treatise. There exists a slightly fuller version of a very similar metaphor in an extant fragment from Origen’s Alexandrine commentary on the Psalms. An investigation of this comparison along with other passages in the Instructio will demonstrate some of the extent of Hilary’s selective dependence on Origen. At the same time, there are indications to demonstrate the continuing influence of Hilary’s Latin exegetical and theological lens through which he selects and adapts material from Origen. The second comparison explicitly sets out the Latin rhetorical context in which both Hilary and his audience function. This cultural context informs many of the important images, examples, and applications throughout the Tractatus. The value of a stable city, for instance, is a significant theme in the traditions of Latin rhetoric and it is reflected in the writings of three contemporaries of Hilary. The influence of this rhetorical culture will continue in subsequent chapters on Hilary’s treatment of divine Providence, lists of ethical values with the disruptive impact of vice and the harmonizing role of virtue. Some of Hilary’s interest in the body of Christ and the risen body of the Christian may be influenced by residual elements of Stoicism in his Latin literary culture. To illustrate the complexities for interpretations of the Psalms at the end of his Instructio, Hilary presents his metaphor of the city. Here the city contains a variety of buildings each with a locked door. How is the reader to enter the text of the Psalms? The metaphor represents the challenge to find the correct key to unlock the different meanings of various texts in the collection of Psalms. In this first use of this image Hilary presents features which will become standard in all of his applications of this adaptable metaphor. He compares the book of the Psalms to “a beautiful and large city with many different buildings.” Each structure is locked and to open each one a person must identify the appropriate key 62 ³ Hilary’s Principles of Exegesis from a pile where “they are thoroughly mixed up.” This disordered condition echoes the description of the state of the Psalms, which had confronted the Septuagint translators described at Tr. Ps. 150.1.1 Est autem diligens perpensumque iudicium expositioni psalmi uniuscuiusque praestandum, ut cognoscatur qua unusquisque eorum clave intellegentiae aperiendus sit. Nam liber omnis similis est urbi pulchrae atque magnae, cui plures aedes diversaeque sint, quarum fores propriis clavibus diversisque claudantur, quae cum unum in locum congestae permixtaeque sunt, volenti unamquamque aedem aperire maximam ignaro adferant difficultatem, ut clavem uniuscuiusque aedis inveniat sitque aut familiaris scientiae cognitam clavem cito...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813219882
Related ISBN
9780813219875
MARC Record
OCLC
815276573
Pages
272
Launched on MUSE
2013-02-13
Language
English
Open Access
No
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