Abstract and Keywords
Christian writers of the second and third centuries adopted the figurative interpretation of the Exodus presupposed by the New Testament, adding new figural readings and articulating a theology of the Exodus as spiritual salvation. Tertullian in particular follows the lead of 1 Corinthians 10 and connects Israel’s crossing the sea to baptism. Origen creates a coherent allegorical interpretation of the entire Exodus story by filling out details in the rest of the narrative in keeping with the theme of Christian salvation. Later authors who devote significant exegetical attention to the Exodus include Gregory of Nyssa, Ephrem the Syrian, Theodoret of Cyrus, and Augustine of Hippo. Key points of discussion include the Passover, baptism through the sea, and the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. By the fourth century, a standard Christian reading of the Exodus appears in a wide variety of sources, depicting Israel’s exodus from Egypt as a figural representation of salvation from the devil and sin, towards virtue and communion with God.
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