Threads and Images : The Use of Scripture in Apophthegmata Patrum

Per Rönnegård

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This study is devoted to the use of the Bible in the Greek systematic collection of Apophthegmata Patrum (AP). After an introductory survey of earlier research on the use of Scripture in general, and that of AP in particular, the main purpose of the investigation is formulated: to describe how the Bible text is contextualized, i.e., how the text is integrated with the teachings and ideals in the saying of which it is a part. The work is placed in the genre of collections of chreiai (collections of short pithy sayings attributed to well-known people). A classification system, a "taxonomy of references", is developed to sort out which sayings quote, paraphrase, or allude to Bible passages in an obvious way. The basis for the study is the 155 sayings classified as containing the most obvious uses of the Bible. In chapter three, 32 of these are analysed in depth. In chapter four the whole range of the 155 sayings are the basis for a systematization of the use of the Bible. One set of categories is developed in terms of how the threads of biblical material are woven into the new text of AP in order to bear on questions relevant to its first readers. Another set of categories is developed in terms of what role biblical texts have in individual sayings. Finally, a comparison is made between different uses of the Bible in AP and the way a chreia could be expanded on in an ergasia, a basic rhetorical exercise used at an intermediate level of the educational system of that time.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Church and Mission Studies
  • Holmberg, Bengt, Supervisor
  • Rubenson, Samuel, Supervisor
Award date2007 Oct 13
Print ISBNs978-91-974897-5-1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2007-10-13
Time: 13:15
Place: Språk- och Litteraturcentrums hörsal, Helgonabacken 12

External reviewer(s)

Name: Ekenberg, Anders
Title: Doc
Affiliation: The Newman Institute, Stockholm


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  • Hermogenes
  • Physiologus
  • Barsanuphius of Gaza
  • Dorotheus of Gaza
  • ergasia
  • chreia
  • referent
  • contextualization
  • monasticism
  • Septuagint
  • Early Christianity
  • Late Antiquity
  • desert fathers
  • reception history
  • Bible
  • Apophthegmata Patrum
  • Bibelvetenskap
  • History of the Christian church
  • Kristna kyrkans historia


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