I'm extremely curious to know how you'd resolve the perceived conflict between modern "correct" exegetical work and the "wrong"(?) working of the early folks. What parts would you consider sustainable vs. unsustainable and why? What parts of modern exegetical "rules" do you think make good sense with early church exegesis and which do you think are most at odds?

This topic has definitely been one of my niggling mindworms over the past few years. I've got a fairly stringent list of "good" and "bad" exegetical practices that are going to be considered acceptable or unacceptable by my theological peers. But if I compare the biblical authors' own exegetical practices to mine, they are regularly doing things that I would find concerning and/or unjustified. But that then suggests that my own practices don't necessarily line up with what scripture teaches, and probably need examination.

I think I'm willing to grant the biblical authors *some* level of divine inspiration for what look to me like exegetical leaps, but I'm (probably unfairly) much less lenient with later writers. Granted, I don't have extensive experience early church writings. However, from the smattering I have read there seems to be some significant synthesis with Greek philosophical thought, and I tend to see that leading to some interpretative drift (but I'm also a protestant so obviously I'm going to complain about allegorical interpretations). I think the eventual influence (takeover?) of Greek philosophy later in e.g. Aquinas is concerning - Aristotle is cool and all, but I'm not going to take appeals to "the philosopher" terribly seriously on theological & philosophical subjects.

I'm not sure how I feel about some of the results of the "modern" approach though. For example, recent conversations rehashing trinitarian doctrines of various import (eternal generation, the filioque, subordinationism, etc.) seem just on the edge of concerning. On the one hand, if we're going to be all #solascriptura about things we ought to be able to defend them directly(ish) from scripture. On the other hand, as you point out, there's a danger that dismissing the exegetical reasoning and conclusions of the early church will lead to a fatal discontinuity with historic church creedal positions.

(Another example where my theological intuitions might be off: Maximus's defense of _apatheia_ makes me cringe a little. Is it justified cringe, or am I just projecting my feelings about modern stoic-wannabes? I dunno - if someone gave me a modern equivalent I'd probably write lots of grumpy comments in the margins.)

Anyway, I'd love to hear more of your insights on how to balance old and new ways of practice. Thanks as always for the thought-provoking post!

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All good thoughts and questions. I think I could write some things on this, perhaps as a post or three.

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