Typology

Typology (‘study of type’) in biblical exegesis is a method of biblical interpretation whereby an element in the Old Testament is seen to prefigure one in a later part of the Old Testament (the Jewish tradition) or in the New Testament (the Christian tradition). The element that prefigures is the ‘type’ and the one that resembles or translates the type is the ‘antitype.’ (‘Anti-‘ here does not mean ‘against’ but ‘corresponding to.’) The type and antitype may be a concept/thought, ideal, person, event, place, or institution. An example would be King David, seen as foreshadowing the future king, the ‘righteous branch’ in Jeremiah 33:15, identified by Christians with Jesus as Messiah. In this interpretation, David is the ‘type’ and Jesus Christ is the ‘antitype.’

Further reading

Soulen, Richard N., and R. Kendall Soulen. “Typology.” Page 203 in Handbook of Biblical Criticism. Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.