Item description for Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers: Focusing Concern and Action by Christopher A. Hall...
Overview Who were the church fathers? Why should we read their works? In this fascinating introduction to patristic commentary, Hall examines the writings of Augustine, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and others to show how they interpreted the Bible in the centuries after it was first written. His analysis will help you understand and apply ancient insights from the early church.
Publishers Description Many Christians today long to become reacquainted with their ancient ancestors in the faith. They see a deeper worship and devotion in the prayers and hymns of the early church. And they believe that the writings of the early church can shed new light on their understanding of Scripture. But where and how do we begin? Our first encounter with the writings of the church fathers may seem like visiting a far country where the language, assumptions, concerns and conclusions are completely unfamiliar to us. In Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers Christopher Hall helps us through this cultural confusion, introducing us to the early church, its unique world, and the sights and sounds of Scripture that are highlighted for them. As Hall points out, the ancient fathers hear music in Scripture where we remain tone-deaf. Despite their occasional eccentricities, theirs is a hearing refined through long listening in song, worship, teaching, meditation and oral reading. And like true masters they challenge and correct our modern assumptions as they invite us to tune our ears to hear the divine melodies of the Bible. Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers is an exceptional guide. Hall provides a warm, winsome, informative and indispensable introcution to who these leaders and scholars were, how they read and interpreted Scripture, and how we might read Scripture with them for all its worth.
Citations And Professional Reviews Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers: Focusing Concern and Action by Christopher A. Hall has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 11/15/1998 page 72
Christianity Today - 03/01/2008 page 81
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Reviews - What do customers think about Reading Scripture With the Church Fathers?
A solid work worth considering Feb 19, 2008
The interest that Protestant theologians are showing to the church fathers is fascinating. It is an area they have struggled with in that it so often challenges the presupposition of sola scriptura and the authority of the church. It is good that they are exploring now this great well of faith so often overlooked. Dr. Hall's work will go far to providing the foundation these studies will require. He explains the fathers through biographical sketches of 8 ancient doctors of the church and with an overview of the Alexandrian and Antiochene schools of hermeneutics. In the end his comments on what we can learn and apply from that background is thorough and good information. Key points are that the fathers knew the interpretation and teaching of scripture had to be done within the context of the church tradition/community and with the mind set on allowing scripture to work in the interpreter's heart. Without that context, we can never hope to plumb the depths of the scripture. The fathers knew and applied those ground rules in a way that seems foreign to our modern minds. But, Dr. Hall argues, those ground rules are essential and we do well to seek out the advice of the early fathers in light of their understanding of those concepts.
Very highly recommended. Perhaps a subtle Protestant bias comes through in the discussion of the context of sacred tradition as a guide in interpretation but otherwise an honest, informative, and entertaining introduction to the interpretive presuppositions of the church fathers.
A fine introduction Apr 25, 2007
Hall does a fine job of touching on the some of the most salient points of patristic interpretation. It would do well as a secondary source for a Biblical Theology course, as he provides a great bibliography and direction for thinking about each of the fathers he covers. One critique: Too much weight is given to the notion that Post-modernism is EVERYONE'S problem when it comes to understanding the Biblical text. Some of us got over that a long time ago, or never had the problem to begin with. One thing lacking: direct examples of "how" the fathers did exegesis, the process of interpretation. This would be helpful for a furthering a sound Biblical method of hermeneutics based on their work. Otherwise, a great read.
Necessary Reading for All Protestants (& Orthodox) Mar 8, 2007
I very seldom believe that a book is a "must read," but this is one of those times. Over the past year-and-a-half I have been examining the Orthodox Faith. Coming from the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ (Restoration or Stone-Campbell Movement), I was well-versed in Alexander Campbell's writings. The Church Fathers were looked at only to reinforce the Movement's views. Even any writer between Luther and Campbell was suspect.
This book helps to set right the overlooked Church Fathers. Mr. Hall helps open the doors in a very readable way for Protestants. With the strong basics he presents, the reader will be drawn to further study. I wish that I had used this book first in my studies on Orthodoxy.
Good, not really scholarly Oct 13, 2006
This is a good book for getting people interested in the church fathers. I recommend it for that purpose. Beyond that, it comes across as a bit shallow. The major theme of the book is the controversy between allegorical and non-allegorical interpretation of Scripture. In a book written by Protestants to Protestants we expect the non-allegorical camp to win, but the reasons for this are not really thought through in the book. Do Origen's allegorical hemeneutics eventually lead to contradictions? The danger of this is acknowledged, but there are no examples given. This and similar inadequacies of the exposition make this a frustrating book. I am encouraged, however, to seek out the primary literature to find out for myself, however.
Good book to start with for laypersons Oct 7, 2004
Christopher A. Hall has written a interesting introduction to the church fathers which is exactly what I was seeking. I can recommend this to anyone since it is easy to read, concise and well written. It is my first reading on the church fathers and am continuing with Learning Theology with the Church Fathers. I just hope he continues the series with the planned, "Praying with the Church Fathers."