Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fourfold Figurative Interpretation

"Our primary tool for reading literature – hermeneutics, the art if interpretation – was originally devised as a way of reading the Bible.  The Church Fathers taught the art of fourfold figural interpretation, in which the reader traces different strands of meaning: literal (historical), allegorical (higher, spiritual significance), tropological (the moral lesson), anagogical (to think of future and last things).  The flexibility of this interpretive art has made it possible to read religious texts in secular ways and vice-versa." - Jonathan Bate, author and Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at Warwick.

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