Eroshev Evgeny

Biblical typology or pagan allegory? Exploring peculiarities of patristic exegesis on the book of genesis with materials of Hexaemeron by St. Anastasius Sinaites as an example

Eroshev Evgeny (2020) "Biblical typology or pagan allegory? Exploring peculiarities of patristic exegesis on the book of genesis with materials of Hexaemeron by St. Anastasius Sinaites as an example ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2020, vol. 89, pp. 48-65 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202089.48-65


This article analyses the spiritual and fi gurative or, as the authors of the critical text describe it, the “mystical” exegesis of the Hexaemeron (CPG 7770) by St. Anastasius Sinaites in the context of discussion about typology and allegory as two methods — externally similar but diff erent in their principles — of the fi gurative explanation of Holy Scripture. The introductory section of the article explains the relevance of typology as a specifi c exegetic method and a specifi c role of the Hexaemeron in this discourse. The main section of the article analyses the exegesis of Hexaemeron in comparison with Origen’s approach to interpretation. Using the scientifi c literature and analysing the relevant loci in Origen’s texts, the article outlines main pronciples of his exegesis and evaluates the infl uence of these principles on the Hexaemeron. The study of this issue in the context of scholarly discussion about typology and allegory allows one to show fundamental diff erences between St. Anastasius’ and Origen’s methods of exegesis. Both authors use the principle of “all-embracing allegory”, but Origen often discards the natural meaning of the interpreted image as fi ctional (this being done in the spirit of pagan allegoreses) and replaces it with an allegorical concept. The author of Hexaemeron, by contrast, deliberately avoids such an approach. St. Anastasius has the “all-embracing interpretation” only on the macrolevel, whereas on the microlevel he follows his own exegetic formula, i.e. “makes use of the analogical interpretation only where it is necessary and only to a necessary degree”. The historicity of the narrative understood in its entirety makes the foundation of spiritual interpretation, i.e. the images incorporated in the system of symbolic and typological correlations do not lose their initial signifi cance. The hermeneutic key for St. Anastasius is the incarnation of God, the central element of the exegesis is Christ, through Whom the author enters the domain of Christology, ecclesiology and eschatology. Due to this, one can argue that the material of the Hexaemeron is the application by its author of the traditional typological explanation and that the method employed by the author cannot be identified with allegory in the sense of pagan allegoreses and with Origen’s method of non-literal interpretation.


typology, allegory, exegesis, Anastasius of Sinai, Anastasios Sinaites, Hexaemeron, Origen, patristics, patrology, hermeneutical methods


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Information about the author

Eroshev Evgeny

Student status: Graduate student;
Place of study: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities; 6/1 Likhov pereulok, Moscow 127051, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0003-2424-1012;
Email: acheronex@yandex.ru.