The School of Antioch
The interpretive school of Antioch, known as Antiochene, is often
contrasted to the catechetical school of Alexandria, particularly in the
approaches each used in interpreting scripture. Antiochene scholars took a
literal approach to the scriptures and did not look for the mystagogical
in them. (They sometimes considered the mystagogy of the Alexandrians to
be arbitrary). Antiochene tendencies have been characterized as
Aristotelian (concerned with what is before them); Semitic (emphasizing
the oneness of God); and historical (focussing on the incarnation of
Christ). Understanding the meanings and origins of the words in the
scriptures was important to exegesis of texts. Operation was, for these
thinkers, the way to distinguish the persons of the Trinity. Antiochenes
tended to place much emphasis on the humanity of Christ and saw a great
need for human moral effort.
Although Lucian of Antioch and Diodore of Tarsus headed groups of students
in Antioch, no formal Antiochene school existed the way the catechetical
school of Alexandria did. Other important writers of the Antiochene school
include St. John Chrysostom, Malchion, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and
Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Arius was a pupil of Lucian, and although Arius'
heretical teachings were condemned at the First Ecumenical Council at
Nicea in 325, the school itself was not attacked until controversy over
the Three Chapters in the fifth century.
Karen Rae Keck
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