Edited By Vahan Hovhanessian
The Holy Spirit in Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Isaiah (David Kneip) 43
• D A V I D K N E I P • The Holy Spirit in Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Isaiah yril of Alexandria composed a verse-by-verse commentary on Isaiah sometime in the early period of his pontificate. While the dating is uncertain, the commentary almost certainly derives from the period before the Nestorian controversy. Indeed, unlike Cyril’s commentary on Luke, in which he mentions Nestorian positions, and unlike his commentary on John, in which he engages Arian doctrine (whether in current controversy or as a purely literary conflict), Cyril’s commentary on Isaiah does not seem to array itself against any group in particular.1 Rather, the commentary seems to be intended for the Christian faithful or some subset thereof, with its goal a better understanding of this large biblical book, especially in the ways in which it points to Christ, the Apostles, and the Church. J. David Cassel has pro- posed that the commentary was likely written for the clergy of the diocese of Alexandria as part of their Scriptural education;2 while I am not in a position to adjudicate this claim here, I certainly agree that Cyril’s audience seems to be “the faithful” in some way. Introduction and Background Unfortunately, despite the prominence of its author and the length of the text (it comprises an entire volume of Migne’s Patrologia Graeca (PG), numbering over 750 columns in the Greek alone), Cyril’s commentary on Isaiah has en- joyed very little scholarly attention. I believe that this situation arises largely from...
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