Type of Document Dissertation Author Heisler, Jeanne Marie URN etd-07102006-125349 Title Gnat or Apostolic Bee: A Translation and Commentary on Theodoret's Commentary on Jonah Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Religion, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title David Levenson Committee Chair Nicole Kelley Committee Member Svetla Slaveva Griffin Committee Member Keywords
- Greek Church Fathers
- Biblical Interpretation
Date of Defense 2006-06-20 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation will translate and comment upon one of Theodoret's previously untranslated works, Commentary on Jonah.
Theodoret of Cyrrhus, a key player in the political and theological controversies between Alexandria and Antioch in the fifth-century CE, produced massive amounts of literature. Although his exegetical works are concise, they reflect a plethora of traditions.
After providing a complete translation of Commentary on Jonah with critical notes, the subsequent portions of this dissertation will address how Theodoret works as a compiler of exegetical traditions. Each chapter will compare Theodoret's understanding of Jonah with other Christian and Jewish exegetical works which contain traditions about Jonah, in the effort to isolate Theodoret's original contributions and create a portfolio of his sources. The Christian authors who will be compared with Theodoret are Theodore of Mopsuestia, Cyril of Alexandria, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Ephrem the Syrian, and Hesychius of Jerusalem. The Jewish works for comparison with Theodoret include the Mishnah, the Jerusalem Talmud, the Babylonian Talmud, midrashim, Pseudo-Philo's Homily on Jonah, and Targum Jonathan.
As the conclusion of this dissertation will show, Theodoret refers to two individuals as a source more than others, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Cyril of Alexandria. This pattern of compilation is significant, especially when understood within the context of the christological controversy. It appears that Theodoret may be using his exegetical works, such as Commentary on Jonah, to moderate the opposing sides represented by Theodore and Cyril. By responding to the overly literal approach of Theodore and incorporating some of the style and vocabulary of Cyril, Theodoret rehabilitates his own image in the eyes of Alexandria.
The conclusion of this dissertation will also present Theodoret's original contributions to the understanding of Jonah which he weaves in with his source material. Although he has described himself as a gnat, lowly in comparison to the apostolic bees which have written before him, Theodoret's work deserves attention. His ability to assemble the materials of his predecessors into a clear and concise commentary, with the purpose of rehabilitating himself in the turmoil of ecclesiastical controversy, earns him a place among the apostolic bees he revered.
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