Ancient Apologetic Exegesis: Introducing and Recovering Theophilus’s World

By Stuart E. Parsons

An astute study of the exegetical methods of Theophilus of Antioch, showing how modern studies have often misunderstood the apologists of the 2nd century.

ISBN: 9780227175422


Taking a radical new approach to second-century theology, Ancient Apologetic Exegesis examines the work of St Theophilus of Antioch, with a full understanding of the man and his times. The second century is often dismissed by theologians, despite a near-living memory of Jesus and his apostles from only a generation or two prior, but Stuart E. Parsons shows that a distinctive biblical exegesis was used by those second-century apologists who challenged Greco-Roman pagan religionists. Current literature misunderstands second-century exegetical approaches, but by looking behind anachronistic views of ancient genre, literacy, and rhetoric, we can rediscover a forgotten form of early Christian exegesis.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 252

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Stuart E. Parsons is chair of the Church Ministries Department and a member of the Bible and Theology faculty at Trinity College of Florida.



1. Theophilus and His Life with Scripture
2. Scripture and a Forgotten Genre
3. Scripture and a Forgotten Orality
4. Scripture and a Forgotten Coherence
5. Scriptural Anthologies and Testimonia (Excursus)


Appendix 1: Methodological Notes
Appendix 2: Scripture Usage Tables

Ancient Document Index
Modern Authors Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Parsons’s work breaks through the prevailing anachronistic assumptions surrounding the performance of Scripture in the work of Theophilus of Antioch and recasts the apologist as a careful and thoughtful exegete. His sensitivity to the genre of protreptic writings and attentiveness to even the most subtle echoes and allusions of Scripture make an important contribution to the understanding of the development of Christian hermeneutics in the post-apostolic age.
Stephen O. Presley, Assistant Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Theophilus of Antioch, one of the few early metropolitan bishops from whom we have extant writings, has often been ignored or misunderstood by modern scholars. Parsons brings insightful understanding to a second-century presentation of Christianity through a protreptic genre to a largely oral culture.
John Reeve, Assistant Professor of Church History, Andrews University