Introduction to Orthodox Hermeneutics

The registration for the current offering of this class (2023) is now closed. Yet, it may be offered again in the future. Therefore, if you are interested, please follow this website through the contact form at the bottom of the main page. Thank you!

This online class is meant to be a broad introduction not to what we Orthodox read in the scriptures (“interpretation”), but to how we hear them (“hermeneutics”), which coincides—we Orthodox believe—with the manner in which the scriptures themselves want to be heard. In other words, this class won’t pursue what we Orthodox believe about a certain passage. Nor will it teach the content of the scriptures. Nor will it ask historical questions, such as, Where do the scriptures come from? How were they composed and gathered? It will not even ask the question, What did the Fathers of the Church say about the Old Testament? Or, the New Testament, for that matter. Rather, this class will look at Orthodox interpretive texts (liturgy, hymnography, homilies, commentaries, and iconography1) with the purpose of discerning the interpretive principles and practices at work in them, or, in short, their hermeneutics.

For more information, please consult the current syllabus here. Be mindful, it may change in the future, although only slightly.

NOTE: 1. Traditionally, iconography has been considered a text and entirely equivalent to the written word. Whence the very word “icon-graphy”: the writing of images.