The Catholic Church has several encyclicals giving guidelines for Biblical Interpretation, such as Divino Afflante Spiritu or Providentissimus Deus. Are there any Eastern Orthodox equivalents to these encyclicals? I imagine they use the writings of the Church Fathers such as Augustine's De doctrina christiana, but I was wondering if there is any later reference work that they use to define their interpretation methodology. (Any other references concerning Eastern Orthodox Biblical interpretation methodology would be appreciated, including Slavonic / Russian or Greek works).

  • Just a comment: I thought I read somewhere that Orthodox typically regard Augustine's exegesis as improper, but I could be wrong. Did you ever find the answer to this good question? Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Being Orthodox Christian myself, I haven't heard of any authoritative book mainly because the Church structure is not like in the west with a single Papal authority. We, as you probably know, with our different jurisdictions and patriarchies are self governing but are in communion with one another through love and common Creed. However we do have an overall methodology and it's is the same through out. Scriptural interpretation is derived from the lives, experiences and writings of the saints.

Some of the great sources of biblical interpretations come from Saints not recognized by the Catholic West. A good example would be of St. Gregory Palamas who probably is one of the more important theologians of the Orthodox East. His works outline, in great detail, the mindset of the Orthodox Church in terms of sin and salvation, and the fall of man. A good book I found title "Passions and Virtues" by Anestis Keselopoulus brings many of the Saint's works together to form a Orthodox mindset. It's with this mindset we begin to interpret the holy scriptures.

Of course works by many other Church fathers like St.Chysostom, St.Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssia, St. John Climascus, and St. Anthony the Great, are greatly used as well. Among theologians of today look at the writings of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. There is also the Didache.

All the best and I hope this helps.

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