It has beenamply demonstrated that allegorical interpretation originated, or at least sawits first extensive development, in Hellenism, or perhaps Greece proper, in anattempt to bring the ancient and honored mythology and poetry into line withprevailing philosophical opinions. We must not present something as an interpretation that isn’t intended by the author. John Whiteford addresses specifically the sense of allegorical interpretation which is employed both in the New Testament and in Patristic Tradition, although it is often rejected by many Christians today in the various western traditions. Traditionally, there are four senses of Scripture: 1. All comments will be read by the editors of, Folio 7v from the Rossano Gospels, the Good Samaritan. In some cases, the text is clearly not intended to be taken literally, but even poetic texts have an obvious meaning. And indeed, the human mind was designed to appreciate the beauty of intricate literary connections and be excited by the fulfillment of such patterns. Protestants generally wish to reject the allegorical method, but when faced with clear examples of the Apostles engaging in that very method, their response is usually to say: "Well, the Apostles were inspired to do it, but no one else is." W.A. However, Christ Himself provided the interpretation of one parable in the Gospels—the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-9)—and the interpretation He gave was clearly an allegorical interpretation (Mark 4:10-20). Carson defines it similarly as “the unpacking of what is there.” He goes on to add: “it is unpacking what the biblical text or texts actually say. While allegory is an accepted method of interpretation, extreme care must be used when applying it. Are there theological connections that are legitimate? These four senses have been the Church’s mind about the Scriptures from the time of the Apostles! 116), the actual event, person, thing described in the biblical text. Illustrations, of course, are not only endearing stories about pets or the harrowing tales of hiking with the wrong boots. Vol. Protestants have reacted negatively to the allegorical method because it was used to such great excess in the west, especially during the medieval period. Consider how other parts of the Bible (typically New Testament connections) handle the content of your text. For Geffcken, in any case, allegorical interpretation betrayed a deeper con-fusion about texts. In fact, God uses remarkably intimate language to articulate his love for his people and his commitment to bring them home. Dictionary definitions are not especially precise either. The goal of the allegory is to make spiritual concepts more understandable.  See Origen, On First Principles, 4.2. Yet God promises in these opening verses of Isaiah 43 to be with his children through the consequences of their sin (Babylonian exile). Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. This is the most important distinction to make and it provides us with a substantive criterion for distinguishing between typology and allegory.8. John Whiteford’s News, Comments, & Reflections. Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. Clearly, if the Apostles could interpret the Old Testament in allegorical and typological terms, no one who claims to be a Christian should object to the Church Fathers doing likewise. The allegorical interpretation of this record denies its historicity, but tries to retain its supposed “spiritual” message by finding a devotional application in its narratives. Is there precedent for making this theological connection? Perhaps the most important distinction is that of who is driving the connection between passages. Have you heard Augustine’s take on the parable of the Good Samaritan? On the one hand, he tended to interpret the Bible literally, but when it came to eschatology he interpreted that spiritually or allegorically. moral - This sense of the scripture is the meaning that encourages us to … The Samaritan takes him to the inn (or the Church) where two denarii (the promises of this life and the life to come) are paid to the innkeeper (the Apostle Paul), to take care of the man.1, It’s an intriguing example of allegorical interpretation. D.A. It was Origen’s earnest desire to follow his father’s example of martyrdom to the point that “his mother had to prevent him forcibly from going out to seek martyrdom in the persecution in which his father was killed.” In the year f… If a passage anticipates a future fulfillment (whether in the immediate literary and historical context or an ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah, for example), it’s essential to trace how the passage is ultimately fulfilled. Therefore one could either use a currently available myth andallegorize it, or on… Allegorical interpretation is perceived to be an approach that was left behind at the time of the Reformation.  And here’s another good definition from a leading expert on the topic, Roy Zuck: That is, don’t present a gospel connection as an interpretation, but as an illustration. The single best way to do this is to see how a subsequent passage (usually in the New Testament) refers back to your passage.9 If textual connections cannot be drawn, then we have to consider that the source could be the preacher and not the passage. For example, John the Baptist calls Jesus ‘the lamb of God’ in John 1:29. Allegorical interpretations of Genesis are readings of the biblical Book of Genesis that treat elements of the narrative as symbols or types, rather than viewing them literally as recording historical events.Either way, Judaism and most sects of Christianity treat Genesis as canonical scripture, and believers generally regard it as having spiritual significance. Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. Typological/Allegorical: A type is a stamp which imprints an image. Understanding the Literal and Allegorical Senses of Scripture. On Historical Trajectory (Preachers Talk, Ep. Allegorical interpretation, a third type of hermeneutics, interprets the biblical narratives as having a second level of reference beyond those persons, things, and events explicitly mentioned in the text.  Mark Dever defines expositional preaching as “preaching that takes for the point of a sermon the point of a particular passage of Scripture.” Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Third Edition (Wheaton: Crossway, 2000), 44. 2. As long as the parable is presented as such, and not as an intertextual interpretation of Isaiah 43 or an ultimate fulfillment, it can be used to preach the gospel with elegance. 14), Book Review: A Little Book for New Preachers, by Matthew Kim, Biblical Eldership and Global Missions: A Vital and Necessary Union, Genesis 37–39: On Being Like Joseph and Not Being Like Judah—At Least Not Yet (Bible Talk, Ep. Philo of Alexandria (who live from approximately 25 B.C. 13). Is there a theme, typology, trajectory, or other biblical-theological connection that can be made legitimately? A separate presentation of Allegorical Interpretation has not yet been written, and therefore reference must be made to works treating of Scripture interpretation in general: Rosenmueller, Historia Interpretationis Librorum Sacrorum, iv. During antiquity and through the Middle Ages, allegorical interpretation was one of a few ways of reading Scripture (along with literal, moral, and anagogical interpretation).  See Aubrey Spears, “Preaching the Old Testament,” in Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address (ed., C.G. Carson, “Challenges for the Twenty-first-century Pulpit” in Preach the Word: Essays in Honor of R. Kent Hughes (ed., L. Ryken, T. Wilson; Wheaton: Crossway: 2008), 176-177. While much can be learned, of course, from a knowledge of Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew, this is not an end unto itself. Their influence paved the way for the dominance of allegorical interpretation during much of the Middle Ages. It might leave you a little confused. Allegorical interpretation is problematic. ), allegorical interpretation remains a problematic venture. And, indeed, any one may see that the curiosity of certain men has led them to contrive these speculations, contrary to the intention of Christ.” See Calvin’s commentary on Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37 in John Calvin, The Harmony of the Gospels, Vol. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Allegorical interpretation is an interpretive method which assumes that the Bible has various levels of meaning, and tends to focus on the spiritual sense as opposed to the literal sense. Considering allegory is something less than 2,350 verses having to do with and. 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