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With Reverence for the WordMedieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam$
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Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195137279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137279.001.0001

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Thomas of Ireland and his De tribus sensibus sacrae scripturae

Thomas of Ireland and his De tribus sensibus sacrae scripturae

(p.284) 18 Thomas of Ireland and his De tribus sensibus sacrae scripturae
With Reverence for the Word

Édouard Jeauneau

Oxford University Press

The works of Thomas of Ireland include a large compilation called Manipulus florum, an anthology “of some 6,000 extracts from the writings of the Fathers and doctors of the Church, along with acceptable ancients”. The trilogy consists of the following treatises: De tribus punctis religionis christianae, De tribus hierarchiis, and De tribus sensibus sacrae scripturae. This chapter focuses on the third treatise, which shows how any passage of sacred scripture may be interpreted according to three senses: allegorical, tropological, and anagogical. In every book of the Bible, Thomas says we must examine four points: the facts that are narrated (historical meaning of the text); what these historical facts prefigure (allegorical meaning); what they command us to do (tropological or moral meaning); and the eternal rewards which they signify (anagogical meaning). These four senses can be compared with the four wheels which Ezekiel saw in his first vision (Ezek 1). These four wheels were carrying the four living creatures. And so do the four senses: history, tropology, allegory, and anagogy are the four wheels of holy scripture.

Keywords:   Thomas of Ireland, Manipulus florum, treatises, sacred scripture, four senses, Bible, history, tropology, allegory, anagogy

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