Introducing Medieval Biblical Interpretation: The Letter and Spirit of Premodern Exegesis
Author: Ian Christopher Levy
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Does medieval hermeneutics have continuing relevance in an age dominated by the historical-critical method? Ian Christopher Levy asserts that it does. Levy shows that we must affirm both the irreversible advances made by the historical-critical method and the church's lasting commitment to the deeper spiritual senses beyond the immediate historical circumstances of the text.
In Introducing Medieval Biblical Interpretation, Levy explains that medieval exegetes, like modern practitioners of the historical-critical method, were attuned to the nuances of ancient languages, textual variations, and cultural contexts in which the biblical books were produced. Yet these early interpreters did not stop after establishing the literal, historical sense of the text. Presupposing as they did the divine authorship of Holy Scripture, medieval exegetes maintained that the God of history imbued events, places, and people with spiritual significance so that they could point beyond themselves to deeper salvific realities. There is much meaning to be discovered through the techniques of medieval hermeneutics.
This introductory guide offers a thorough overview of medieval biblical interpretation. An opening chapter sketches the necessary background in patristic exegesis, especially the hermeneutical teaching of Augustine. The book then progresses through the Middle Ages from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries. Spanning approximately one thousand years from late antiquity up to the eve of the Reformation, Introducing Medieval Biblical Interpretation examines the major movements, developments, and historical figures of the period. Rich in primary text engagement and comprehensive in scope, it is the only current, compact introduction to the whole range of medieval exegesis.
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