Creation in the Mirror of Scripture I: Patristic Approaches to the Genesis Creation Story

Paul M. Blowers

in Drama of the Divine Economy

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199660414
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745980 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Creation in the Mirror of Scripture I: Patristic Approaches to the Genesis Creation Story

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This chapter considers the various genres and modes of Hexaemeral interpretation and demonstrates the sophisticated patristic approaches to Genesis 1 as a “thick” and prophetic narrative.” A loose functional distinction is drawn between “analytical” and “doxological” or “spiritual” commentary. The first, for which Augustine was especially exemplary in deploying theologically “literal” interpretation and engaging weighty issues like the meaning of “heaven and earth” (Gen. 1:1) the “hovering spirit” over the formless void (1:2), and the primordial “light” (Gen. 1:3) aimed to unfold varied levels and complexes of meaning pertaining to the triune Creator’s broader economy. More doxologically or spiritually oriented commentary on the Hexaemeron aimed primarily at encouraging worship of the Creator and deeper contemplation of creation, as evidenced in the Hexaemeral sermons of Basil of Caesarea and Ambrose, the Hexaemeron of the monastic theologian Anastasius the Sinaite, and the unique epic Hexaemeron by the Byzantine poet George of Pisidia.

Keywords: Hexaemeron; literal interpretation; heaven and earth; spirit; light; Augustine; Basil of Caesarea; Ambrose of Milan; Anastasius the Sinaite; George of Pisidia

Chapter.  18730 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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