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Recapitulation

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In their recent study of patristic interpretation, John O'Keefe and RR Reno point out that Irenaeus borrows his notion of recapitulation from ancient rhetoric: "Recapitulation is an English form of recapitulans, the Latin translation of anakephalaiosis, which means final repetition, summing up, drawing to conclusion. As a term in rhetoric, it refers to the end of a speech, when the speaker drives home the point with a summary of the strongest arguments." In applying this notion to the life of Jesus, then, Irenaeus is not merely saying that Jesus "repeats" the history of man or of Israel, but that He is "the Father's 'summary statement," as well as the "Logos of the Father, the logic or purpose in and through which the whole divine economy is conceived and implemented." Behind Irenaeus' use, then, is a rhetorical conception of redemptive history as the speech of the Father.

posted by Peter J. Leithart on Saturday, November 26, 2005 at 05:47 PM

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