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:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology


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Chapter 4 examines William’s use of sources. A hallmark of medieval commentary was extensive borrowing from the works of earlier writers. More specific to university commentary was the use of broader ranges of them and the application of specialized dialectical procedures for integrating them into original and coherent expositions. Because the pedagogy of the time required the use of authoritative texts, university commentators devoted considerable effort to reconciling them with one another, as well as with the church’s doctrine. In this endeavor, William made use of several dialectical techniques, but without obscuring the identities or meanings of various authorities in order to disguise their disagreements. Even more than his contemporaries, he tended to discuss differences openly, sometimes adjudicating between authoritative interpretations but more often putting all of them forward as alternatives. In evidence here is a concern for maintaining the broadest possible scope for literal interpretation.

Keywords: auctoritas; dialectics; reverential exposition; Church Fathers; Glossa ordinaria; compilation; Hugh of St. Cher; Bonaventure; Thomas Aquinas

Chapter.  11568 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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