Wielding the brazen serpent: The variety and power of biblical typology in early modern Scotland

Russell Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In early modern Scotland, both ministers and the laity used typology as a key way of interpreting the Bible, discerning a variety of powerful ways that biblical types resonated in their own context. This article focuses on one of the most frequently expounded types in this period: the brazen serpent. It begins by exploring how its appearances in Numbers, 2 Kings, and John’s Gospel were expounded in Scotland, showing that while types were principally figures of Christ they also had a variety of edifying and rhetorical applications. This article then takes William Guild’s use of the brazen serpent in his typological handbook, commentaries, and sermons as a case study, to illustrate how typology functioned in practice, contending that biblical types played an important role in allowing early modern exegetes to shift or reinforce their expositions, without resorting to more figurative methods of interpretation that were frequently rejected by Reformed theologians.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalThe Seventeenth Century
Early online date4 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Bible
  • exegesis
  • typology
  • reformed
  • Scotland

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Wielding the brazen serpent: The variety and power of biblical typology in early modern Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this