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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54910
Doc. No:TL24864
Call number:‭3198193‬
Main Entry:Peter D. Steiger
Title & Author:Theological anthropology in the commentary “On Genesis” by Didymus the BlindPeter D. Steiger
College:The Catholic University of America
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:414
Abstract:This dissertation argues that Didymus' exegesis of Genesis is structured for the pedagogical purpose of leading ascetic students through the spiritual ascent by an appropriation of the characters in the scriptural narrative. This aspect of Didymus' exegesis has not been discussed previously, and fills an important lacuna by adding to our knowledge of the reception of Origen and the formation of the Alexandrian tradition. Didymus' exegetical method shows him to be an heir of Philo, Clement and Origen, but his theological anthropology bears the impress of Antony and Athanasius. The condemnation of Didymus as an Origenist at Constantinople in 553 led to the obscuring of this important late antique Christian teacher. However, Didymus' On Genesis modifies Origen's anthropology in light of anti-Origenist criticism. The rediscovery of several of Didymus' writings has made possible an evaluation of his theology and its context in fourth century Alexandria. Because the Origenist controversy revolved around an understanding of the spiritual life based on a theological anthropology rooted in a particular interpretation of Genesis, the recovery of On Genesis facilitates a better understanding of the issues of exegesis, pedagogy and theology in this debate. The dissertation proceeds in three parts. The first chapter places Didymus in his theological context by tracing the development of Christianity in Egypt and the Alexandrian Catechetical School. Chapters Two through Four examine the connections between the pedagogical structure of On Genesis, Didymus' hermeneutical method, the exegesis of Genesis in early Christianity and the spiritual pedagogy of emergent monasticism. Part three, contained in Chapter Five, presents a close reading of the commentary to elucidate Didymus' theological anthropology and its similarities to the thought of Antony and Athanasius. In addition, it shows Didymus' continuity with and modification of Origen's anthropology. This dissertation places Didymus' On Genesis in the context of fourth century Alexandria, where ascetic Christianity was beginning to coalesce into monasticism. It reveals the inseparable connection between pedagogy, interpretation and spirituality in early Christianity. It demonstrates, for the first time, how Didymus' exegesis of Genesis is central to the Origenist controversy and how he preserved but modified the anthropology of Origen.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Didymus the Blind; Egypt; On Genesis; Theological anthropology; Theology; Religious congregations; Bible; 0330:Religious congregations; 0321:Bible; 0469:Theology
Added Entry:R. D. Young
Added Entry:The Catholic University of America