Nikolakopoulos Konstantinos, Hermeneutic Studies from a Rhetorical and Hymnological Point of View, Pournaras Press, Thessalonica, 2005, pages 259. Konstantinos Nikolakopoulos’ book contains eight independent studies at the main body of his work and one study at the appendix. Six from these studies, as the writer mentions in his prologue, have been published before in scientific journals, proceedings of conventions and honorary volumes.
The first study is titled: “Biblical hermeneutics of East and West. Approaches and deviations”. The writer refers to the role of the New Testament in the East and West. Next, he analyzes the orthodox hermeneutic principles. He presents the historical-critical method of interpretation and then he gives some examples of extreme consequences of the western hermeneutics by Drewemann and Ludemann. In his conclusions, the writer stresses that the salvific events, such as the one of the Resurrection, it is not possible to be put under the sober judgment of contemporary ad postum scientific experiments and research. “Orthodoxy as a total of convictions of faith and chief way of life has no need for scientific-like analyses and deep psychological examinations”.
The second study is titled: “The hymnological sections of Matthew’s Gospel. Notional extensions on the basis of their rhetorical structure”. The aim of the study is to present the hymnological parts of Matthew’s Gospel. Then, the subject of the rhetoric of prose is referred to in general, for instance, in the New Testament, and, finally, there is a notional process of the aforementioned hymnological parts. From the analysis it has emerged that the central axis of all the texts is primarily a clear Christology, which, by all means, defines and signifies sotiriology.
The third study deals with the “co-psalmody of the faithful, according to the testimonies of Apostle Paul”. The study seeks and analyzes those passages from the Epistles of Ap. Paul, which declare the union of hearts and unanimity of the first Christians in the worship, such as Col. 3, 16 and Eph. 5, 19. The writer concludes that these passages are undoubted testimonies of the active participation of the faithful in the devotional life of the first communities and not the passive one, to which the body of believers has come down today.
In the fourth study, the writer refers to rhetoric irony as a means of expression in the Epistle to the Galatians. After the introduction and his analysis of what the figure of irony means, he analyzes the ironic references of the Epistle, that is, Gal. 1, 6/2, 6/4, 18/5, 12/5, 15 and 6, 7. According to the author, Paul directs his irony to three categories of people: the troublemakers, the Judean Christians (Gal. 1, 6. 5, 12), the formal apostles (2, 6) and, finally, the wandering Christians of Galatia (4, 18, 5, 15. 6, 6). The writer concludes that irony, the way it is used and appears in the texts, is one of the most appropriate tools of language.
The fifth study presents the aspects of the “Pauline” rhetoric in the two Epistles to Timothy. The writer begins with an introduction about the rhetoric of the New Testament and the Pastoral Epistles. He analyzes the rhetorical aspects of the two Epistles to Timothy, stressing that the effective fighting of different, dangerous for the “healthy teaching” (A’ Tim. 1, 10. B’ Tim. 4, 3) first Christian heresies is the main dialectic axis of both Epistles to Timothy.
The sixth study bears the title: “The notional function of basic rhetorical figures in the text of John’s Revelation”. After the introduction to rhetoric and its relation to the New Testament texts, the writer attempts a linguistic evaluation of the Apocalypse and discovers the remarkable rhetoric figures of hyperbole (1, 16. 5, 13, 9, 16 etc), oxymoron (1, 18. 2, 9. 10, 9), paradox (2, 8-9. 7, 14. 13, 9), question (5, 2. 10, 7. 15, 4. 18, 18), irony (22, 11. 16, 6), “paranomasia” (11, 18. 14, 2. 22, 18-19). All the above figures prove the great linguistic value of the Apocalypse text.
The seventh study refers to the testimonies of the New Testament about woman’s position in the Apostolic Church. The writer briefly analyzes the reports of the Gospels, the Acts and ap. Paul’s Epistles, concluding that, according to the testimony of the New Testament texts, women’s presence was intense both in the years of Jesus Christ earthly presence and in the next apostolic generations, contributing, thus, significantly to the spreading of the Gospel.
The eighth study, titled: “Psalm-Hymn-Ode”, investigates the hermeneutic contribution of Gregory of Nyssa to the biblical hymnological terminology. After a short introduction, which deals with the clarification of the terms psalm-hymn-ode by contemporary interpreters, he moves on to the testimony of Gregory of Nyssa and his hermeneutic work “In the inscriptions of the Psalms” (ΕιςταςεπιγραφάςτωνΨαλμών). In the author’s opinion, the third chapter of the second book of this work, which systematically deals with hymnological terms, found in the inscriptions of the Psalms, is of special interest.
At the appendix of the book, the writer deals with humour as a pedagogical medium in the Three Hierarchs. After a short introduction, the author analyzes the rhetoric of the Three Hierarchs and then refers to some selected examples of pedagogical humour. The rhetorical dimension of pedagogical humour, at least as it appears in the texts of the Three Hierarchs, shows a self-evident pastoral functionalism. The book closes with an index of biblical passages.