Under the Gaze of God & Angels
The Meaning of Tobit for the Christian Reader
My earlier study of the Book of Tobit drew attention to the high level of symbolism and allegory that some medieval Latin writers employed in their interpretation of that story, and I contrasted their approach with the sober, more literal and direct sort of exegesis that the Fathers of the Church found sufficient for a full Christian reading of Tobit.1 In the present study I propose to examine Tobit’s moral and ascetical teaching, which, as I suggested earlier, corresponds to the book’s major interest and importance. Because the theology of the Book of Tobit is chiefly concerned, I am persuaded, with the relationship of God’s Providence to the prayers of pious people, I intend to pursue this study under three headings: prayer, piety, and Providence. In doing so, I hope to show likewise that this is the very approach taken by the Fathers of the Church in their specifically Christian reading of Tobit.2
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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