Laudat sensum et significationem: Robert Grosseteste on the Four Senses of Scripture

James R. Ginther

in With Reverence for the Word

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195137279
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849482 | DOI:
Laudat sensum et significationem: Robert Grosseteste on the Four Senses of Scripture

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Robert Grosseteste (ca. 1170–1253) was a 13th-century Oxford theologian who later became bishop of Lincoln. In his commentary on the Genesis creation story, the Hexaëmeron, Grosseteste explains the meaning of the light divided from the darkness. In the forty years since, no one has questioned whether Grosseteste really was interested in spiritual exegesis alone. This reticence is curious in light of James McEvoy's 1975 edition and study of Grosseteste's commentary on Ecclesiasticus. Scholars have yet to examine a text in which Grosseteste focuses primarily on his theory of biblical interpretation. This chapter examines a Grosseteste text, which places it within the context of his other theological writings. The text in question is a sermon preached by Grosseteste before he became bishop of Lincoln, when he was teaching theology. It now survives as part of his Dicta collection and is listed as Dictum 19. This chapter discusses the four senses of scripture in Grosseteste's work: the literal sense, allegory, morality, and anagogy.

Keywords: Robert Grosseteste; scripture; four senses; biblical interpretation; Dicta; sermon; literal sense; allegory; morality; anagogy

Chapter.  11217 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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