Origen followed Clement in relishing the use of an ‘allegorical’ method of understanding the meaning of literary texts, which by then held a long history in Greek scholarship. This s how learned Greeks had read Homer and how learned Alexandrian Jews like Philo read the Tanakh. Allegorical readers of scripture saw it as having several layers of meaning. The innermost meanings, hidden behind the literal sense of the words on the page, were not only the most profound, but also only available to those with eyes to see.[p152, A History of Christianity by Diarmaid McCulloch]
Thoughts on: Muhammad in the Bible? Debate between Zakir Hussain (Hussein) and Samuel Green
I think this is a timely reminder to folk that looking at the Bible allegorically is nothing new. I recently viewed a debate between a Muslim (Zakir Hussain/Hussein) and a Christian (Samuel Green) about whether Prophet Muhammad was in the Bible.
I thought the Muslim gave a cohesive presentation and was rather impressive. He drew the audience's attention to the unaccommodating approach Christians have towards prophecies of Muhammad (p) in the Bible compared to the accommodating approach they have for prophecies of Jesus (p) in the Old Testament.
The Muslim speaker began his presentation by making mention of Matthew, in ch.2:14-15, who uses an allegorical interpretation of Hosea 11:1 to support his belief that this is a Prophecy of Jesus. I think this was a really good start to his presentation as the more balanced Christian viewer would have to be inclined to give the Biblical verses presented as prophecies of Muhammad (p) a fair opportunity.
I wonder whether the Christians (including Samuel Green) would be prepared to give an allegorical reading of the Biblical passages Zakir presented as prophecies of Prophet Muhammed (p) an opportunity during moments of quiet reflection...