Type and Antitype

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The word "type" is a transcription of the Greek word τύπος (from τύπτω, to strike), which means, first of all, a blow, and then the mark left by a blow or the application of pressure, e.g., the mark of the nails in Christ's hands (Jn 20.25). It can refer also to an image or model (a statue is the τύπος of the one represented) and is so used in the Septuagint (Am 5.26, where it refers to statues of false gods; see also Acts 7.43). But in its strictly Biblical sense it refers either to a moral lesson (the events of the Exodus are lessons, τύπτοι, for the Christian community; 1 Cor 10.6); or to some person, event, or institution of the Old Law related in some way to the new and definitive self-revelation of God in Christ. In this sense Adam is "a type of the one to come" (Rom 5.14).

In the Gospels. It is a basic supposition in all the sources of the Gospel tradition that Jesus fulfills the Old Law, and He Himself affirms this (Mt 5.17). Not only was Jesus seen as the climax of sacred history, but an ever deepening meditation gradually revealed hidden correspondences between the time of promise and that of fulfillment. Thus, while Mark has no mention of the sign of Jona (in Mk 8.12 Jesus refuses to give a sign), the Logia source (see synoptic gospels) contained a well-developed form of it, though this has been variously transmitted (Mt 12.3841; Lk 11.2932) (see jonah, sign of).

In John this process is taken much further and no doubt owes a debt to the liturgical life of one or more early Christian communities. Structurally basic to this Gospel is the idea that Jesus fulfills what is implicit in the great Jewish feasts (see john, gospel according to st.). The realities of the Old Testament are on a lower and representational level: the bronze serpent (Nm 21.49) prefigures Christ on the Cross (Jn 3.14); the water of Jacob's well and that of the rite of pouring water at the Feast of booths serve only as figures of the true life-giving water (Jn 4.10; 7.3739). The manna in the desert points forward to the reality possessed by the antitype, the true Bread (Jn 6.32). A hidden correspondence is also traced between the Passion of Jesus and the Old Testament Passover (Jn 19.3336; cf. Ex 12.46) (see passover, feast of).

In the Epistles. St. Paul's typological actualization of the Old Testament was already prepared for in that of contemporary Judaism. This was true of Adam as type (see adam), though Paul's application in Rom 5.14 is certainly original [see W. D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinical Judaism (London 1958) 44] and can be compared with that of Philo's heavenly Adam who is stamped (τετύπωσθαι) with the divine image. Paul uses Exodus typology also (1 Cor 10.611) and speaks of the "allegory" of the two sons of Abraham (Gal 4.2131), with a term that appears to have been first used by philo judaeus and Flavius josephus.

The typological correspondence is carried through more thoroughly in Hebrews than elsewhere in the New Testament and can be compared with the discourse of Stephen (Acts 7), in which the Old Testament is given a largely typological value. The contribution of Hebrews lies in a Platonic-Philonian distinction between the representational and real levels: Old Testament liturgy is but a copy and shadow (σκία: Heb 8.5) of the new, the "heavenly things" (9.2324); the "earthly" sanctuary (9.1) points forward to the "true tent" (8.2). And, in particular, the entry of the High Priest into the inner sanctuary on the Day of atonement (Yom Kippur) is a figure (παραβολή: 9.9) that refers to the salvific entry of Jesus into heaven after His Resurrection.

It will be clear from the preceding that antitype is the correspondent in the New Testament to the Old Testament type as in 1 Pt 3.21 where Baptism is the άντίτυπος of the Flood. In Heb 9.24 the word is synonymous with type, but this is due to the different thought-context.

Conclusions. These correspondences between persons, events, and institutions of the Old Law and the new reality in Christ show that the typological relation follows from the unity of salvation history and, at the same time, the uniqueness of the Christ-event, which, as the final and all-inclusive reality, is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. The discovery of such types may not, therefore, be an arbitrary process but must be based on the literal sense of the Scriptures and be guided by the primitive tradition. It is especially important to distinguish typology from allegory, which generally aims at a point-by-point correspondence and is not so controlled. Philo's allegorical methods left their mark on the Christian Alexandrian school (see F. Büchsel in G. Kittel, Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament 1:260261), which, through the great prestige of origen, deeply influenced the West, as can be seen in the homilies of St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great. This approach is still strong in the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and later writers; it led to a depreciation of the literal sense and of a genuine typology (see exegesis, biblical, 5, 6, 7). Though a reaction had already set in with the Antiochean School, chiefly in the works of theodore of mopsuestia, it is only in the modern period that the balance has been restored.

The typological or spiritual sense of Scripture includes the identification of these types. It too must be based firmly on the literal sense (see divino afflante spiritu; H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symolorum, ed. A. Schönmetzer, 2293) but can have wider connotations: dogmatic (allegorical) referring to Christ and redemption; moral (tropological), to moral conduct; or eschatological (anagogical), to the realities of the future life.

Bibliography: É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant, 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 15.2:193545. p. grelot, Sens chrétien de l'Ancien Testament (Tournai 1962). j. daniÉlou, From Shadows to Reality: Studies in the Typology of the Fathers, tr. w. hibberd (Westminster, MD 1960). h. de lubac, "'Typologie' et 'allegorisme'," Recherches de science religieuse 34 (Paris 1947) 180226. j. levie, The Bible: Word of God in Words of Men, tr. s. h. treman (New York 1962) 252264. j. coppens, Les Harmonies des deux Testaments (new ed. Tournai 1949). On Origen, see j. daniÉlou, Dictionnaire de la Bible, suppl. ed. l. pirot, et al. (Paris 1928) 6:884908 and h. de lubac, Histoire et Esprit: L'Intelligence de l'Écriture selon Origéne (Paris 1950). For Protestant views, see h.h. rowley, The Unity of the Bible (Philadelphia 1955); g. von rad, "Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament," Interpretation 15 (1961) 174192; g. w. h. lampe and k. j. woollcombe, Essays in Typology (Naperville, IL 1957).

[j. blenkinsopp]