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By David Tracy, Robert McQueen Grant

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It is plain that the typology of the New Testament is not really so simple as this; and the fourth classification seems to lie outside the range of typology. 16, 5091. The interpretation of scripture, however, goes beyond any grammatical analysis, and must be more deeply defined. It is based on historical meanings, but is not limited to them: What should we keep in mind for the understanding of the scriptures? What is said must be suited to him who says it, it must not disagree with the causes for which it is said, and it must agree with the times, places, order of events, and intention of scripture.

4 Such conscious neglect of contexts is characteristic of Gnostics both Jewish and Christian. For example, the Old Testament was compiled and transmitted by those who believed in the unity of God. They regarded Yahweh as the same God as Elohim or ElShaddai or Yahweh Sabaoth. Gnostic readers, on the contrary, denied the unity of God, and held that these names referred to various deities subordinate to the true, unknown Father. Similarly they regarded the Father of Jesus as quite different from the malevolent Creator God whose emotions and actions are portrayed in the Old Testament.

We know that Valentinus claimed to have been the disciple of Theodas, a companion of Paul (Clement, Str. 4); presumably Heracleon derived his knowledge from him and interpreted the gospel in its light. It was Clement of Alexandria, however, who first among Christians undertook to justify and explain the meaning of the allegorical method. And yet his thought is hardly ever systematic. He is not attempting to construct a theological system in the light of his interpretation of scripture, but simply to use scripture to illustrate his already formed thought.

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