Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Senses and Seasons

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this seasonal analogy for biblical interpretation techniques ("senses"), but it came to mind when Saward (The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty) mentioned that the Bible is said to be a "forest of senses". Maybe this analogy will help me remember the dang senses. (Probably not the names, though.)

Winter: the literal sense (incorporating historical, etiological and analogical senses). Just what the words on the page say, just bare branches on the trees. Everything else lies hidden and dormant. This is especially true of the Old Testament. And of course in winter comes Christmas, the celebration of the Word coming into the world as one of us.

Spring: the allegorical sense. Just as the wood springs to new life, so the OT reveals new applications to the NT (and so forth).

Summer: the tropological sense. The season of maturity makes us apply the Bible's words to what we readers ought to be doing. Time to produce some fruit!

Fall: the anagogical sense. It speaks of Christ's harvest and eternal things.

Which leads us back to winter and the literal sense again! Cool, no?


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