Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BBR 24:3 (2014) p. 393
Eugen J. Pentiuc. The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. xxi + 414. ISBN 978-0-19-5333123-3. $35.00 paper.
The goal of this volume is to outline and offer a concise analysis of the ways the OT has been received and appropriated by Eastern Orthodox tradition (p. ix). This work is intended for seminarians and educated lay leaders in order to increase their awareness of the significance of the OT in its Greek version, the Septuagint, in their own faith understanding. This volume is also meant to fill the gap in scholarly treatment of the Eastern Orthodox history of interpretation of the OT, which can be informative to non-Orthodox readers (p. xiii).
The book consists of two parts. Part 1 (“Reception”) addresses the ways in which early Christians and the Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) received the OT and dealt with issues pertaining to this process. Chapter 1 focuses on the unity and diversity of the two testaments contained in the Christian Bible presented through the works of the church fathers (p. 17). While the OT serves as a proof-text and a pointer toward Christ, the NT is understood as superseding and triumphing in theological and social areas. Chapter 2 addresses the flexibility with which the EOC has used not only the Septuagint, but the Hebrew text as well and assigned value to it (p. 63). In his analysis of the textual witnesses used by the EOC, Pentiuc emphasizes the need for practical steps that would raise awareness of the value that the MT and other sources hold for Eastern Orthodox exegetes and theologians and that eventually would lead to assigning greater respect to these texts. Chapter 3 discusses the “openness” of the scriptural canon present in the EOC as compared to the Protestant “narrow” canon and the Roman Catholic “wide” canon (p. 134). According to the author, the Eastern Orthodox tradition is deeply rooted in the liturgical life of the church, which uses the Scriptures both to form and inform the readers. Therefore, the canonical books as well as the additions to the Septuagint are employed in the liturgy to shape and nurture people. Chapter 4 analyzes a crucial issue of the relationship between Scripture and tradition attempting to redeem the centrality of the Bible within the interpretive guidelines of ecclesiastical tradition (p. 161). While Pentiuc claims that Scripture, especially the OT, is central in writings of church fathers, liturgy, and visual arts, he acknowledges the fact that tradition remains on par with Scripture as a paramount rhetorical predisposition of the EOC.
Part 2 (“Interpretation”) examines a wide variety of interpretive sources, including literary, visual, and auditory. Chapter 5 focuses on the patristic interpretations of the OT with th...
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