Ecclesial framework of patristic biblical exegesis
This study aims to bring into attention what I consider to be an extremely important aspect of patristic biblical exegesis, namely, the fact that it was done within an ecclesiastic setting. There is currently great interest in retrieving the patristic exegesis, in the context of a broader effort to draw some guidelines for an Orthodox-Christian hermeneutics of the Bible. For sure, in this hermeneutics, the patristic exegesis has a central place. The idea of this study is to contribute to this by bringing out some examples from the Fathers which certify the fact that, in the Eastern tradition, biblical exegesis is done in an ecclesiastic setting. Although it may bear the resemblance of a worldly institution, the Christian community is not, however, regarded as one, but rather, as in the Pauline theology, as the mystical Body of Christ. The fact of belonging to this Body grants Christian exegetes the peculiarities of an exegesis “pro Ecclesia”, having as a final goal the encounter with the Incarnate God: Jesus Christ.