Augustine's rules for interpretion of Bible


#1

Does any person out there have a list of the rules that St. Augustine wrote for interpreting the Bible?

I need a concise list.

Or any kind of list!

THANKS!

I am working to put one together, but if it is already done--that would be great!


#2

The Church already has a list for interpreting Scripture. From the CCC:

The four ways of interpreting Scripture: #s 115-119.

The senses of Scripture
115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.
116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."83
117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God's plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.
1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ's victory and also of Christian Baptism.84
2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written "for our instruction".85
3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, "leading"). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.86
118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:
The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.87

119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgment. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."88
But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.89


#3

Della:

Fast.

Thanks!

I would still want to see St. Augustine's list!

Actually, I need it!

THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


#4

[quote="Jim_Baur, post:3, topic:346230"]
Della:

Fast.

Thanks!

I would still want to see St. Augustine's list!

Actually, I need it!

THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[/quote]

This may be what you're looking for. :)


#5

bible-researcher.com/links16.html


#6

ThelastWord:

THANKS!

Della: Thanks! Just to let you know I am reading or rereading or studying St. Augustine's On Christian Doctrine.

He give many insights. Let me give one that seems really powerful. It something is being told that is immoral-then it is a figure of speech. One of my many questions would be the putting away of wives by Abraham. In my little mind, and that I mean, Abraham would never sent his wife Keturah and her children away to the East. If my question is correct, what is the literal meaning?

It will take me two months to reread the book--and a year to pull all of his ideas.

THANKS!


#7

[quote="Jim_Baur, post:6, topic:346230"]
ThelastWord:

THANKS!

Della: Thanks! Just to let you know I am reading or rereading or studying St. Augustine's On Christian Doctrine.

He give many insights. Let me give one that seems really powerful. It something is being told that is immoral-then it is a figure of speech. One of my many questions would be the putting away of wives by Abraham. In my little mind, and that I mean, Abraham would never sent his wife Keturah and her children away to the East. If my question is correct, what is the literal meaning?

It will take me two months to reread the book--and a year to pull all of his ideas.

THANKS!

[/quote]

You can also consult good commentaries and concordances to help you see the spiritual aspects of some of the more obscure occurances mentioned in Scripture. Haydock's is reliable, even though he is too hard on the Jews of Jesus' time and his. He uses the older method of naming the books and passages, so it can be hard to find some things in the OT, especially in those books that had parts taken out by the reformers and put back in again in our modern translations. Anyhoo, it's online: haydock1859.tripod.com/.


#8

[quote="Della, post:2, topic:346230"]
The Church already has a list for interpreting Scripture. From the CCC:

The four ways of interpreting Scripture: #s 115-119.

The senses of Scripture
115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.
116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."83
117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God's plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.
1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ's victory and also of Christian Baptism.84
2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written "for our instruction".85
3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, "leading"). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.86
118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:
The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.87

119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgment. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."88
But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.89

[/quote]

This is all new to me. Beautiful! :thumbsup:


#9

[quote="Jim_Baur, post:1, topic:346230"]
Does any person out there have a list of the rules that St. Augustine wrote for interpreting the Bible?

I need a concise list.

Or any kind of list!

THANKS!

I am working to put one together, but if it is already done--that would be great!

[/quote]

I'm puzzled by such a post. I can't imagine that you need it, and don't have an idea where to get it. How does such a thing happen? Why would you come HERE looking for a "quick" answer? I looked at the responses and can't recognize those as quick answers to anything.

Augustine, I've learned, was quite a prolific writer. Everybody quotes him and alleges to be adherent to him. Towards the end of his life, he seems to have written a sort of correction of things he had said earlier. So, lots of luck making sense of that.

Augustine has quite a large profile in Jaroslav Pelikan's five-volume On Christian Tradition. Pelikan, a history professor of top rank in his time, selected as his topic what you are looking for -- viz. not scripture itself, but what people believed about scripture. But, there, it is organized in a generally historical fashion. So, there's lots of "Augustine" in there, but not in so-organized or systematic fashion as you might desire. I seem to recall that each volume had its own voluminous-enough bibliography. I skimmed over these volumes earlier this year.

I seem to recall Pelikan stating how his work was done; he was invited to various world-class libraries to do his unbelievably detailed research. That took a large part of his career.


#10

I would hope and pray that I find a list.

If I do not, I will put one together for myself.

It will take a great deal of work and time.

BLESSINGS!


#11

Hi Jim,

Almost 2000 years ago St. Augustine warned Christians about opposing the bible to the findings of serious science based on reason and experlence. Here's a short passage that you wil enjoy :

hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/nave-html/faithpathh/augustine.html

Verbum


#12

What is the point in composing such a list. The Church already tells the ways of interpreting Scripture, as per CCC quoted in an earlier post.
I’m trying to understand why you want to do this.


#13

Verbum

THANKS!!!


#14

thistle

It is the way that I study. I improve my knowledge and understanding by having a list such as this. It gives me a chance to view many points at once. Then to use them while I am praying the Bible.

I am not a scholar, but merely a student–perhaps 90-100 IQ.


#15

I have been looking fr another place where I believe Augustine went over these same principals, in which I read them years ago, but I have not been able to locate it, but here is a very similar quote from him that might be of some help.

He says this in his treatise On The Creed...

All that Scripture therefore, which is called the Old Testament, is handed down four-fold to them who desire to know it, according to history, according to aetiology, according to analogy, according to allegory. Do not think me silly for using Greek words. In the first place, because I have so received, nor do I dare to make known to you otherwise than I have received. Next you yourself perceive, that we have not in use terms for such things: and had I translated and made such, I should have been indeed more silly: but, were I to use circumlocution, I should be less free in treating: this only I pray you to believe, that in whatever way I err, I am not inflated or swollen in any thing that I do. Thus {for example) it is handed down according to history, when there is taught what hath been written, or what hath been done; what not done, but only written as though it had been done. According to aetiology, when it is shown for what cause any thing has been done or said. According to analogy, when it is shown that the two Testaments, the Old and the New, are not contrary the one to the other. According to allegory, when it is taught that certain things which have been written are not to be taken in the letter, but are to be understood in a figure. All these ways our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles used. For when it had been objected that His disciples had plucked the ears of corn on the Sabbath-day, the instance was taken from history; Have ye not read, saith He, what David did when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the show bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests. But the instance pertains to aetiology, that, when Christ had forbidden a wife to be put away, save for the cause of fornication, and they, who asked Him, had alleged that Moses had granted permission after a writing of divorcement had been, given, This, saith He, Moses did because of the hardness of your heart. For here a reason was given, why that had been well allowed by Moses for a time; that this command of Christ might seem to show that now the times were other. But it were long to explain the changes of these times, and their order arranged and settled by a certain marvelous appointment of Divine Providence.


#16

COPLAND3

Thanks!

I went to your site on St. Thomas. I will try to watch it.

If I recall correctly, you can translate Latin to English.

A dear friend of mine says that St. Thomas' Commentary on Matthew is worth the work. He does not have the time or energy.

Just an idea.

Again, thanks!


#17

Good news about his commentary on Matthew, its been translated in 2012. I have it on kindle. amazon.com/Commentary-Gospel-Matthew-Thomas-Aquinas/dp/0615440401/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1385767393&sr=8-2&keywords=aquinas+commentary+matthew


#18

COPELAND3

Awesome!!!

Please forgive me, you are a true scholar.

In your judgment and from your memory, has Eve in the Second Creation Account ever been understood to be Adam’s human wisdom inspired by Grace and yet falls?

THANKS!


#19

[quote="Jim_Baur, post:6, topic:346230"]
He give many insights. Let me give one that seems really powerful. It something is being told that is immoral-then it is a figure of speech. One of my many questions would be the putting away of wives by Abraham. In my little mind, and that I mean, Abraham would never sent his wife Keturah and her children away to the East. If my question is correct, what is the literal meaning?

[/quote]

Jim,

Where do you see Abraham sending away his wife? In Genesis 25, we see that Abraham is trying to ensure that Isaac is the son who gets his inheritance. Therefore, the (presumably adult) sons he has had by Keturah are sent east -- they get something, but not the inheritance. However, in this story, we do not see Abraham setting Keturah aside!

Therefore, no immoral action here!


#20

Gorgias

THANKS!

I have not looked at that passage in some time.

I misread it.

Again, thanks!


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