Philo or Paul? The Hagar Allegory in Alexandrian Patristic Theology

This paper surveys the presentation of Hagar in Clement and Origen, who opt almost exclusively for the Philonic version of Hagar as secular education preparing the soul for Sarah (virtue). The bulk of the paper will discuss Didymus, who breaks from his predecessors in attempting the first synthesis of the Philonic and Pauline allegories in Patristic interpretation. In order to do so, he invests Hagar with triple significance (secular education, the literal reading of the Bible, the Old Testament). All of these prepare the soul for Sarah (virtue, the deeper meaning, wisdom). We shall attempt to describe the exegetical traditions contributing to Didymus' position and the originality Didymus may have introduced.