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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Publication details for Professor Lewis Ayres

Ayres, Lewis (2008). The Soul and the Reading of Scripture: A Note on Henri De Lubac. Scottish Journal of Theology 61(02): 173-190.

Author(s) from Durham


Henri DeLubac's work on multi-sense scriptural reading has become a major resource for Catholic and Protestant theologians seeking a new integration of biblical studies and theology. Rarely, however, is it noticed that De Lubac's account of scriptural interpretation involves a robust notion of the soul and its transformation in the Christian life – and that in linking these themes De Lubac accurately reflects a central theme of pre-modern exegesis. This article thus suggests, first, that defending a notion of soul is important for those seeking to appropriate pre-modern exegesis. The article then argues that such a project is only possible if we move beyond Harnackian notions of early Christianity's ‘hellenisation’ and see the soul as a theological doctrine. The soul is the fundamental locus of a transformation in which Christians act in and through the Spirit as members of the body of Christ. Once the status of the soul is acknowledged, we are then best able to follow De Lubac's call for the reintegration of moral-practical aspects of Christianity and the discipline of theology. The article finally argues that Christian accounts of scriptural interpretation should find their core in an understanding of scripture as a graced resource for the formation of Christians, and that these accounts should be ever attentive to the place of scripture within the drama of salvation.