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The Exegetical Methodology of Heracleon’s hypomnēmata
University College Stockholm, Stockholm School of Theology, Department of Religious Studies and Theology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2203-7977
2021 (English)In: Early Christian Commentators of the New Testament: Essays on Their Aims, Methods and Strategies / [ed] Joseph Verheyden & Tobias Nicklas, Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2021, p. 1-29Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For more than a century, there has been a clear scholarly consensus that the guiding principles of the earliest known New Testament commentary, Heracleon’s hypomnēmata on the Gospel of John, are a number of "Gnostic" or "Valentinian"  dogmatic points that Heracleon attempts to read into the Fourth Gospel. After Ansgar Wucherpfennig’s well-received argument that Heracleon is one of the first Christians to apply Greco-Roman literary criticism to a biblical writing , and my own successful attempt at distinguishing more trustworthy references, such as verbatim quotations and non-interpretive summaries, from explanatory paraphrases and mere assertions in Origen’s presentation of Heracleon , it is time to make a new overall assessment of Heracleon’s exegetical methodology.

This paper argues that Heracleon performs his exegesis of the Johannine gospel in three distinct stages: First, he paraphrases the gospel passage to accentuate the features of the text he finds most relevant to discuss. Then, he analyzes the text in detail, using various methods of Greco-Roman literary criticism including word studies (γλωσσηματικόν), analysis of what is reported in the text (ἱστορικόν), and attention to narrative characters (πρόσωπα). Lastly, he applies the text to a theological theme of potential interest to his audience. Two such themes are apparent form the available material: the history of God’s salvific actions toward humanity, and the process of leading people toward conversion to a Christian faith.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2021. p. 1-29
Series
Biblical Tools and Studies ; 42
Keywords [en]
Ancient Literary Criticism, Heracleon, Origen, Valentinians, Gnostics, Salvation History, Evangelization
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, New testament
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1418ISBN: 9789042945739 (print)ISBN: 9789042945746 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ths-1418DiVA, id: diva2:1586057
Available from: 2021-08-18 Created: 2021-08-18 Last updated: 2023-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Berglund, Carl Johan

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-theologisches-seminar-adelshofen
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard
  • oxford-university-press-humsoc
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  • nn-NB
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