Thursday, November 08, 2007

What is Typology?

One thing I find that I have to explain to my students if the difference between prophecy and typology, esp. in relation to the OT quotes in Matthew 1-4.
According to Michael Fishbane, typology "sees in persons, events, or places, the prototype, pattern, or figure of historical persons, events or places that follow it in time" (Biblical Interpretation and Ancient Israel [Oxford: Clarendon, 1985], 350).
The difference between typology and allegory is, according to Anthony Thiselton (The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 730): "The major difference between type and allegory is that the former is grounded in history and the presupposes corresponding events; the latter is ground in a linguistic system of signs or semiotic codes and presupposes resonances or prallels between ideas or semiotic meanings".

See for an overview W. Edward Glenny, "Typology: A summary of the present evangelical discussion," JETS (1997).

1 comment:

Phil Sumpter said...

Thanks for these quotes. However, I'm not so sure that the distinction between typology and allegory has the same currency today as it did a few years ago. This is something Childs came to see at the end of his career. The two categories would not have been meaningful to the early church. Childs discusses this in his last book, The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture, citing patristic scholars such as Lowth, Discerning the Mystery. Seitz also touches on this in his Figured Out. Unfortunately I don't know the details well enough to cite them off hand.