Theopolis ArticlesFilter

  • Boat Stories

    Back in January, Venkatesh Rao wrote a fascinating post on the Ribbonfarm blog, discussing different forms of models of narrative. Engaging with Ursula LeGuin’s talk ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’, Rao explores her contrast between the (male) ‘hero narrative’ and the (female) ‘carrier-bag story’, and suggests a third model: the ‘boat story’. The male hero […]

  • Abraham’s Life as a Type

    I’m considering the possibility that the life of Abraham as recounted in Genesis contains a typological prophecy of the history of Israel; that is, that the events in Abraham’s life broadly anticipate events in Israel’s history. This kind of pattern is seen in the case of Moses, for instance, because what Moses goes though in […]

  • The Structure and Typology of the Bathsheba Incident

    2 Samuel 11-12, which record David’s sin with Bathsheba and its aftermath, is structured chiastically: This arrangement highlights several things about the episode. It reinforces what is obvious from even a casual reading, that the transition in the story occurs with Nathan’s confrontation of David’s sin and David’s confession. Up to that point, we have […]

  • Systematic Typology – Part Five

    The Temple of Time The “covenant-literary matrix” of the Bible is not a pattern imposed upon the text, but the internal logic of its arrangement. This fundamental structure, functioning at multiple levels simultaneously, is a ceaseless reiteration of God’s primary theme. It is an algorithm forged in the furnace of the love between the Father and the […]

  • Hero’s Theme

    In a recent post, Ian Paul discusses the practice of allegorical interpretation, reflecting in particular upon a conversation he had with someone concerning the reading of the story of Rahab. Paul’s interlocutor argued strongly for an allegorical reading of the Rahab story, writing: “Joshua is a type of Christ in the OT. He leads the […]

  • What Is Systematic Typology? Part 4: Wheels Within Wheels

    The structure of the Bible resembles something which was grown rather than built, composed rather than assembled. Its employment of “structure-as-sign” at every level from micro- to macrocosmic leads to the conclusion that a hermeneutic worthy of Scripture requires not only training in history, art and music but also the wits bequeathed to us by modern fractal geometry. The […]

  • A Musical Case for Typological Realism, 4

    Time as a realm of participation can be difficult for us imaginatively to grasp. While music is a profoundly temporal art, exploring the medium of time like no other, most of our temporal experience seems decidedly unmusical in character, disjointed and unorchestrated. The form in which we naturally discover time is seldom very musical; rather, […]

  • A Musical Case for Typological Realism, 3

    Thinking about time in terms of music also helps us to appreciate its unity and inner relations. Henri Bergson observes our cultural habit of dividing time into discrete moments, and conceiving of these as if akin to objects in a spatial succession.[1] Against such a notion, Bergson argues for the significance of time as duration, […]

  • A Musical Case for Typological Realism, 2

    As we attend to these and other aspects of music’s temporality, Begbie suggests, we will find means by which to resist some of our habitual modern ways of conceptualizing time, most especially our tendency to conceive of time as if it were a homogeneous set of technologically quantifiable units laid out on a time-line in […]

  • Systematic Typology – Part Three

    The Hidden Dimension In many fields of scientific study, the apparent complications and contradictions are dispelled once the internal logic is perceived. Biblical hermeneutics is no different, since the author of Creation is the Author of the Word. The Bible’s literary labyrinth radiates organically from an algorithm so simple it can be grasped by a child. The narrow Newspeak […]

  • A Musical Case for Typological Realism, 1

    Metaphor exerts a surprisingly powerful influence within our thinking. Although it is easily dismissed as little more than a figure of speech, when we attend more closely to the ways in which we use it, metaphor’s importance swiftly becomes more apparent. Although many of our metaphors have become quite invisible to us through habitual use, […]

  • What is Systematic Typology? – Part Two

    A Grammar of Creation An understanding of the visual-musical language of the Bible must begin with Genesis 1. This is fortunate, because when explaining biblical types to academics, as opposed to children, one is repeatedly forced to start from scratch. From birth, a healthy child is attuned to rhythm and melody and image. Responsiveness to these three culminates in the understanding of […]

  • What is Systematic Typology? – Part One

    The Historical-Grammatical Nanny State Typological interpretation is either abused or frowned upon, a domain relegated to mystics and charlatans, where the angels of modern academia fear to tread. But what if the Bible itself contained safeguards against irresponsible flights of fancy? And if it did, what would they look like? Years ago, a friend well-versed […]