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More exegetical literature survives from the hand of Cyril of Alexandria than from nearly any other Greek patristic author, yet his work has scarcely received the degree of attention it deserves. This monograph attempts to reconstruct the intellectual context that gave rise to this fourth-century literary output, and highlights Cyril’s Trinitarian theology as the most important defining factor. Cyril’s appropriation of pro-Nicene Trinitarianism is evident in both his theology of revelation and his theology of exegesis. Revelation, in his understanding, proceeds from the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit, following the order of Trinitarian relations. Moreover, this pattern applies to the inspiration of Scripture as well, insofar as inspiration occurs when the Son indwells human authors by the Spirit and speaks the words of the Father. Cyril’s understanding of revelation is thus resolutely Christological, since the divine and incarnate Son functions as the central content and mediator of all divine unveiling. Correspondingly, humanity’s appropriation of divine life is according to the reverse pattern—in the Spirit, through the Son, unto the Father. Applied to scriptural exegesis, this implies that the Spirit directs the reader to a Christological interpretation, through which the believer beholds the incarnate Son, the exemplar of virtue and the perfect image of the Father, and accordingly advances in both virtue and knowledge. This process continues until the final eschatological vision when the types and riddles of Scripture will be done away with in light of the overwhelming clarity of the Christologically mediated Trinitarian vision.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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