Chapter

William as Exegete

Timothy Bellamah, O.P.

in The Biblical Interpretation of William of Alton

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199753604
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918812 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753604.003.0003

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

William as Exegete

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Chapter 3 considers William’s exegesis. Thirteenth-century biblical interpretation was marked by an increasing interest in the literal sense and a progressive tendency to identify it with the author’s intention. William designates this sense as the intention of the divine author, which he in turn identifies with that of the human author. Even by the norms of his period, he is particularly keen to grasp it. For doing so, he uses several procedures for textual, linguistic, and rhetorical analysis and also considers the individual verse’s context within its passage, its chapter, its book, and the Bible as a whole. Spiritual interpretation is also integral to his exegetical project. His allegorical and tropological expositions are particularly revealing of his purpose of preparing students for preaching. All of this is consistent with his view of biblical history as a continuing reality encompassing even the present.

Keywords: authorial intention; literal sense; allegory; tropology; spiritual interpretation; rhetorical analysis; biblical history; historicism; medieval preaching; medieval liturgy

Chapter.  23661 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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