But their careful scrutiny of the chains of transmission and their meticulous collection and preservation of variants in the transmitted narratives give to medieval Arabic historiography a professionalism and sophistication without precedent in antiquity and without parallel in the contemporary medieval West.
In Hebrew writings, early readers probably saw the passage as a mere narrative to explain humanity's herptophobias, but early in the Christian tradition, New Testament thinkers sought to reconcile the Old Testament and the New Testament. Accordingly, the author of Romans 16:20 interpreted the "seed of the woman" as being the offspring of the Virgin Mary (Christ). Several Church fathers such as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus elaborated upon the passage, treating the "bruising of thy heel" as the act of crucifixion, and so forth. The idea of the protevangelium becomes part of Milton's Paradise Lost, in which the fallen angel Lucifer literally transforms into a serpent to strike at Christ's creation, but the Archangel Michael explains to Adam how God, through mysterious providence, will allow the offspring of Eve in the form of Christ to crush the serpent eventually. See Book XII, lines 380 et passim of Milton's Paradise Lost.
Church Tradition & The Textual Integrity Of The Bible
PHILOLOGY (Greek, "Love of words"): Not to be confused with (see below), philology was an important but now somewhat dated field of study in the 19th and early 20th century. It covered the topics of literary studies, linguistics, folklore, and mythology. Philologists were the ones who reconstructed proto-Indo-European, developed comparative mythology, deciphered the relationships between modern languages, and compiled records of regional folklore, fairy tales, and mythology before they vanished into modernity. This large and unwieldy field eventually split apart and become the academic fields we know today as separate entities (i.e., the distinct degrees of literature, lingustics, folklore, and so forth). Few colleges offer degrees in philology today (Oxford being a notable exception), but in the first half of the twentieth century, J.R.R. Tolkien was the primary philologist in the , which sometimes became a source of tension. C. S. Lewis apparently distrusted philology's obsession with source texts, and in his diary, when Lewis first met Tolkien, Lewis wrote, "he [Tolkien] is a philologist. No harm in him: only needs a good smack or two."