According to Peter Martens the role of the philologist included the following (42):
- Text-critical analysis (διορθωτικόν)
- Reading a passage out loud (ἀναγνωστικόν)
- Literary and historical analysis (ἐξηγητικόν)
- Clarifying a words meaning (γλωσσηματικόν)
- Grammatical and historical analysis (τεχνικόν)
- metrical evaluation and style criticism (μετρικόν)
- Analysis of the historical realities mentioned in the text (ἱστορικόν)
- Aesthetic and moral evaluation (κρίσις ποιημάτων)
In chapter two of his book Martens goes on to show how Origen used these methods in his own interpretation of scripture. I found it to be a very helpful chapter explaining some of Origen’s exegetical methods. He concludes:
For Origen there were in principle two referents of any given scriptural text: the literal and the “nonliteral” (i.e., allegorical figurative, symbolic, spiritual, mystical or deeper). Ideal philologists pursed a broad education and cultivated a series of exegetical techniques with the intent of deciphering both the literal and the allegorical referents of a passage. Philology, in other words, could be practiced in a literal or an allegorical mode — but it was always philology (63).
Upon completion of this book I will be writing a full review on it. Thanks to Oxford University Press for the review copy.
Martens, Peter W. Origen and Scripture: The Contours of the Exegetical Life (Oxford Early Christian Studies). Oxford University Press, USA, 2012. ↩