ALLEGORY TYPOLOGY

ALLEGORY – TYPOLOGY Allegory from Gr. avlla. avgoreu,ein, to say other things is the poetic and rhetorical procedure whereby one says one thing to mean another: Dante, writing wood, means sin. By extension, this term also means the hermeneutical procedure of attributing to a text an allegorical meaning not intended by the author: e.g., the ancients interpreted the wanderings of Ulysses as an allegory of the vicissitudes of the human soul in search of redemption. The Jews made sparse use of allegory in interpreting the OT: the bride and groom of the Song of Songs were interpreted as symbols of Yahweh and Israel. But the Greeks, beginning in the 5th c. BC and then esp. under the influence of Stoic philosophy, readily intepreted the Homeric myths and legends as symbols either of supernatural forces or of situations and passions of the soul; they were thus able to render acceptable to an already mature moral sensibility myths that, taken literally, would have been immoral or in any case overly anthropomorphic. This hermeneutical criterion was widely used in Jewish Hellenistic milieus, esp. by Philo, to interpret the OT in such a way as to render it compatible with the philosophical and moral requirements of Greek readers. A similar procedure was used by Paul to interpret figures and events of the books of the law as prefigurements, symbolic anticipations of Christ and the church. In general he preferred the term typos Rom 5:14; 1 Cor 10:6, but in Gal 4:24 he also uses the verb allegoreuein. This type of interpretation of the OT was widely accepted and set the usual standard by which Christians, beginning in the 2nd c., read and interpreted those books. Exegetes, esp. of the Alexandrian school, added other types of allegorical interpretation to it, esp. under the influence of Philo and Greek philosophy. Modern scholars designate by the term typology both individual examples of the Pauline hermeneutical procedure, which sees facts and figures of the OT as typoi of NT acts and figures, and this kind of scriptural interpretation taken in general. They usually distinguish typology from allegory, in that the former would represent the authentically Christian way of reading and interpreting the OT, whereas allegory derives from pagan influence and uses arbitrary procedures to find arcane meanings in the letter of Scripture. They point out esp. that typology is rooted in the history of both the OT typos and the NT fulfillment of the typos, while pagan-style allegory prescinds entirely from history. It must be pointed out, however, that the ancient exegetes, while they used different terms to indicate the various types of allegorical interpretation of Sacred Scripture spiritual or mystical interpretation corresponding to modern typology, moral interpretation in reference to matters of the soul, etc., nevertheless used the term allegory indifferently to indicate as a whole all types of nonliteral interpretation; more specifically, they did not distinguish typos from allegoria: in effect, every interpretation that is typological in content in that it recognizes an OT fact as the typos of a NT fact is necessarily allegorical in hermeneutical procedure since it gives to that fact a meaning other than the literal one. H. de Lubac, Typologie et allgorisme: RecSR 34 1947 180-226; J. Danilou, Sacramentum futuri, Paris 1950; R.P.C. Hanson, Allegory and Event: A Study of the Sources and Significance of Origen’s Interpretation of Scripture, Richmond 1959; L. Goppelt, Typos: Die typologische Deutung des Alten Testaments im Neuen, Darmstadt 1973; J. Ppin, Mythe et allgorie, Paris 2 1976 bibl.; M.N. Esper, Allegorie und Analogie bei Gregor von Nyssa, Bonn 1979; P.B. Rollinson, Classical Theories of Allegory and Christian Culture, London 1981; M. Simonetti, Profilo storico dell’esegesi patristica, Rome 1981; Id., Lettera eo allegoria. Un contributo alla storia dell’esegesi patristica, Rome 1985; Id., Sul significato di alcuni termini tecnici nella letteratura esegetica greca: La terminologia esegetica nell’antichit : VetChr 20 1987 25-58; J.-N. Guinot, La typologie comme technique hermneutique: Figures de l’Ancien Testament chez les P¨res, Cahiers de Biblia Patristica 2, Strasbourg 1989; M. Simonetti, Ancora su allegoria e termini affini negli scrittori greci: ASE 82 1991 363-384; C. Blmmingen, Der griechische Ursprung der j¼disch-hellenistischen Allegorese und ihre Rezeption in der alexandrinischen Patristik, Frankfurt am Main u. a., 1992; D. Dawson, Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria, Berkeley 1992; Die Allegorese des Antiken Mythos, eds. H.-J. Horn – H. Walter, Wiesbaden 1997; J. Whitman ed., Interpretation and Allegory. Antiquity to the Modern Period, Leiden-BostonCologne 2000, 41-45.

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