Angelicum to Host Landmark “Understanding the Old Testament as Christian Scripture” Symposium

Angelicum to Host Landmark “Understanding the Old Testament as Christian Scripture” Symposium

From 17-20 June 2024, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome will host a groundbreaking international symposium entitled “Understanding the Old Testament as Christian Scripture.”




This gathering of preeminent scholars, generously sponsored by the McDonald Agape Foundation, has three main aims:


  1. Integrating Modern Biblical Scholarship with Theological Interpretation

The conference will model ways to bridge the divide between modern historical-critical biblical studies and the theological interpretation of scripture according to the Church’s living Tradition. Building on the late Pope Benedict XVI’s call for an “exegesis in service of theology,” specialist presenters will demonstrate how careful historical investigation can mutually enrich and be integrated with a theological hermeneutic faithful to the great doctrinal patrimony of Christianity. Presenters will include leading figures like Dr. Lewis Ayres (Durham), Dr. Thomas Cattoi (Graduate Theological Union), and Dr. Philip Lassiter (Catholic University of America), and Fr. Sylvain Detoc OP and Dr. Simon Dürr.


  1. Ressourcing Contemporary Theology from the Patristic Exegetical Tradition

A major emphasis will be mining the spiritual and doctrinal riches of the Patristic Fathers’ profound readings of the Old Testament, especially doctors of the Church such as Irenaeus, Augustine,Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa. Scholars like Fr. Sylvain Detoc, O.P. and Prof. Lewis Ayres will seek to show how engaging the Fathers can inspire renewal in biblical interpretation, systematic theology, or spiritual exegesis, while manifesting an underlying continuity between patristic and contemporary modes of exegesis. Potential convergences between the Fathers and the great scholastic commentators like St. Thomas Aquinas will also be explored.


  1. Developing an Authentically Christian Hermeneutic of the Old Testament

The symposium will tackle the fundamental issue of how Christians can read the Old Testament as a revelation ultimately fulfilled in Christ and the New Covenant, while respecting its origins and continuing authority within the Jewish tradition. Avoiding the error of “Marcionism” that drove an artificial wedge between the two Testaments, presenters will propose constructive ways that the Old Testament can nourish the Church’s preaching, catechesis, spirituality, and theology today. Critical topics will include the relationship between grace and law, the development of moral identity, the mystery of being created in the image of God, in body and soul, – all viewed through the inexhaustible wisdom of the Old Testament texts.


This conference is made possible by the generous philanthropic vision and funding of the McDonald Agape Foundation.


Major follow-up initiatives are already being planned, including two 2025 conferences marking the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, one co-sponsored with the Augustinianum, the other with the International Orthodox Theological Association and the Angelicum’s Institute for Ecumenical Studies.