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Pagan-Christian Debates over the Interpretation of Texts in Late Antiquity

From: Classical World
Volume 105, Number 4, Summer 2012
pp. 525-545 | 10.1353/clw.2012.0021



This article discusses ancient debates between Christian and polytheist writers over the allegorical interpretations of sacred texts. These disputes are set in the wider context of the “the battles of the books” in Late Antiquity. Many similarities and continuities are shown in the interpretative approaches to sacred texts, even though the Christian and polytheist writers themselves often tried to downplay these similarities and to construe differences instead. The article examines the use of allegorical interpretation as a defense of sacred texts, often against the polemic launched from opposing religious groups.

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