It is my theory that present day literary analysis, metonymy, allegory,
metaphor, at. al, has its roots in the early Church's attempts at
It is Augustine who said : "The New Testament is in the Old Testament
concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed."
God becomes "author" in various senses. Jesus, who spoke in
parables, confides to his disciples that there is an outer carnal
meaning for the masses and an inner, concealed, spiritual meaning
for the elite.
Jesus even invites us to join in the "easter egg hunt" of literary
analysis when he says, "Search the scriptures for therein shall ye find
Originally Posted by Parables
Matt 13:10 The disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou
unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to
know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not
If you trace back these disciples, you will come to the fact in Chapter
11:1, it came to pass when Jesus had made an end of commanding
his twelve disciples. This is the original twelve group which became
apostles outside of Judas, who by transgression, fell. And so, it says
here they had been given to know the mysteries (secrets) of the
kingdom of God.
Matt 13:12 For whosever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall
have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be
taken away even that he hath.
When they said, "How come you're speaking in parables?", He
explained it more to the disciples and gave them insight into it,
because it was given to them to know the mysteries and secrets.
Matt 13:36.Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the
house: and his disciples came (these were His twelve disciples, which
were called apostles) unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of
the tares of the field.
And Jesus explained:
He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38] The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the
kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];
39] The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end
of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40] As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so
shall it be in the end of this world.
41] The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather
out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42] And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth.
43] Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of
their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Consider the excerpt (below) from this link:
Originally Posted by URLThe crisis of the Old Testament in the early Church peaked around the middle of the second century. At that time, two positions emerged that embodied the most extreme attitudes to the Old Testament possible in the Church. They are represented, on one end, by a man, Marcion of Sinope, and on the other end by a document, the Epistle of Barnabas. In brief: Marcion interpreted the Old Testament literally, and only literally, and threw it out of the Church. The author of the Epistle of Barnabas interpreted the Old Testament figuratively, and only figuratively, and took it away from the Synagogue.
Marcion of Sinope is one of the more intriguing, if peculiar, figures of the second century. He was a native of Asia Minor, where his father may have been a bishop. He made a fortune in the shipping business and then got serious about religion. Around 140 he moved to Rome and contributed a great sum of money to the church there. A few years later, around 144, the church at Rome expelled him for his wrong teachings and -interestingly - gave him his money back.
Marcion read the Old Testament very carefully, and what he read appalled him. He read, for example, that the god of the Old Testament created Adam, and was thus was responsible for the entry of evil into the world. This god was ignorant; when he walked in the Garden he had to ask Adam, "Where are you?" This god was fickle, too; he first forbade Moses to make graven images but later commanded him to make an image of a saraph serpent. This god could be vicious; he ordered the most awful slaughters of women and children. Jesus would contradict this god, for this god commanded "eye for eye, tooth for tooth," whereas Jesus bade us to love our enemies.
Marcion also read Christian writings, especially St. Paul's letters, and found there a wholly new religion. He concluded that there are two gods: the inferior god of justice of the Old Testament, and the higher God of love of the New Testament.
Marcion, in other words, was convinced that every single word of the Old Testament was literally true, and only literally true. And as such, the Old Testament was unworthy of the God of Love and of the Christian Church and hence had to be rejected.
The other extreme is represented by the Epistle of Barnabas. This curious document is classed among the writings known as the Apostolic Fathers, those eight or nine Christian writings that survive from the first half of the second century.
Like Marcion, the author of this strange document also read the Old Testament intensely but proposed a diametrically opposed theory: the
whole Old Testament, he held, is a great allegory, and concealed within it are the truths of the Christian faith. In the process, "Barnabas" put forward some of the most bizarre interpretations of the Old Testament ever proposed by Christians.
On God's covenant with his people, Barnabas set up a simple dichotomy: is the covenant for us or for them? His answer is clear: the covenant was meant for Christians only. More precisely, Moses received the tablets on Sinai, but because of the people's sin in worshipping the golden calf he hurled the tablets to the ground, and the covenant was invalidated. A wicked angel then caused the Jews to take the Scriptures literally. In a spectacular section, Barnabas contrasts the erroneous, literal interpretation of Scripture with its true, spiritual sense. A few examples will make his method clear.
He deals at length with dietary laws. The Jews had erred by taking the
texts literally, as if they really were about food. Barnabas knew better.
The prohibition against eating pork, he writes, really forbids us to associate with men who think of the Lord only when they are in need, for swine bellow when they are hungry but otherwise ignore their keepers. The prohibition against eating eagle, hawk, kite, and crow really forbids us to associate with men who refuse to work for a living, since these birds feed on what others have killed. The prohibition against eating eel or octopus really forbids us to associate with the impious, since these creatures are bottom-feeders. To avoid eating rabbits, hyenas, and weasels really means avoiding deviant sexual sins. And so it goes on.
But Barnabas' real triumph - one of which he was immensely proud - was his interpretation of Gen 17:23, which says that Abraham circumcised 318 men in his household. Abraham himself, Barnabas writes, foresaw Jesus in the spirit and received the precious teaching on this number. When the number 318 is written in Greek (which used letters for numbers), 10 and 8 are I and E, the first letters of the name of Jesus, and 300 is T, the cross. This is the higher knowledge, and Barnabas exults, "No one has learned from me a more trustworthy lesson!" The fact that Genesis was written in Hebrew, not Greek, did not slow him down for a moment. This, of course, is the stuff of
In summary: what was the situation around the year 150? In the technical sense, the Church did not have an Old Testament, because it did not yet have a New Testament. As so often, the Church first defined its doctrine negatively, by rejecting what it perceived as wrong, and tried thereby to steer a middle way between Marcion and Barnabas. The norm by which the Church judged was soon to be called the "rule of faith," that sense of the essence and heart of Christian belief and doctrine. When the Church rejected Marcion, it affirmed its belief in one God, and one God only. Further, it affirmed that this one God had revealed himself in the Old Testament to
Abraham, Moses, and the prophets, just as he revealed himself definitively in Jesus the Christ. The Church also affirmed that the Jewish Scriptures it inherited were indeed the Word of God and would never cease to be that, a conviction later enshrined in the third article of the creed, which states that the Holy Spirit "spoke through the prophets." And finally and most significantly, the Church affirmed that there was no dichotomy between Creation and Redemption. Matter was not the work of one god and grace the work of another; redemption was not an escape from the corporeal world; and the work of the one God, Creator and Redeemer, was manifested in all of