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The Biblical Interpretation of William of Alton$
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Timothy F. Bellamah

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199753604

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753604.001.0001

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William as Exegete

William as Exegete

(p.26) 3 William as Exegete
The Biblical Interpretation of William of Alton

Timothy Bellamah, O.P.

Oxford University Press

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

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