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"Roomy Hearts" in a "More Spacious World":
Origen of Alexandria and Ellen Davis
on the Song of Songs

Jason Byassee

This paper compares the exegesis of the Song of Songs done by Origen of Alexandria and Ellen Davis of Duke Divinity School. Once it would have been nearly impossible to make a fruitful comparison between a patristic exegete and a modern one. Now, convergences in church history and in biblical interpretation allow us to see the two exegetes as doing similar things. This article sets out the basic hermeneutics of each exegete, and then compares their commentaries on portions of the Song’s first and second chapters. The article concludes with some broader comparisons between patristic exegetical theology and the recent postliberal return to a theologically informed Old Testament exegesis, suggesting what both have to offer the life of the church.

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