The notion that theology and scripture are inextricably connected in early Christian thinking has become a scholarly commonplace in contemporary patristic scholarship. But the nature of the connection has been less than clear, particularly with respect to the commentary on Psalms 1-50 (ca. 372) composed by Diodore of Tarsus (d. ca. 394).
Despite the fact that Diodore identifies πρόνοια (providence) as the central doctrinal theme of the Psalms in his Prologue to the Commentary, scholars have largely overlooked Diodore’s engagement with πρόνοια in his exegesis of the Psalms. This study argues that a specific account of πρόνοια supplies Diodore’s primary theological framework for interpreting the Psalms by generating the questions he asks of the text and shaping his view of other themes in the Psalms. For Diodore, πρόνοια is more than a theme he identifies in the Psalms. Rather, the nature of God’s πρόνοια is for Diodore the main doctrinal question posed by the Psalter, to which his exegesis of the Psalms provides the answer. The answer, Wayman contends, is a view of πρόνοια which he describes as cooperative, reciprocal, and immanent.
Benjamin D. Wayman is assistant professor of religion at Greenville College. He holds the Ph.D. in historical theology (early Christianity) from Saint Louis University and the M.Div. from the Divinity School at Duke University.