Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God: Augustine's approach to reading the Old Testament

Guido Jacobs

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisScientific

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Abstract

Summary of Guido Jacobs, "Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God"
This PhD thesis is about two of Augustine's late works, De Genesi ad Litteram
(‘The literal interpretation of Genesis’, which deals with the creation account)
and Quaestiones in Heptateuchum (‘Questions on the Heptateuch’, his
commentary on the first seven books of the Old Testament). It is very
remarkable that Augustine, well-known for his use of allegorical interpretation,
in these works shifts to a historical interpretation.
In De Genesi ad Litteram, Augustine argues that the creation narrative is
historically true, but that it nevertheless contains metaphors, in order to convey
the metaphysical meaning of the act of creation. Augustine develops a new,
fascinating view of metaphor, in which metaphors are deemed necessary for
understanding metaphysical concepts, which cannot be explained in literal
terms. This surpasses the Aristotelian view of metaphor, which was the view of
metaphor in Augustine's time, and it also goes beyond allegorical interpretation,
which attempts to decode the divine message of Scripture.
Quaestiones in Heptateuchum is a relatively neglected work, in which
Augustine meticulously investigates the historical narrative for its own sake. In
addition, he uses generalization, a form of literal interpretation, to distil moral
principles from the historical narrative. Furthermore, he investigates the Old
Testament laws, and assesses which ones hold eternally.
Considering the scope of this study, this book might be of interest to
Augustinian scholars, as well as metaphor theorists and exegetes.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • van Geest, Paul, Promotor
  • van Wieringen, Archibald L.H.M., Promotor
Award date7 Nov 2018
Place of PublicationBergambacht
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789490393687
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Fingerprint

History
Deity
Old Testament
Augustine of Hippo
Ineffability
Metaphysical
Allegorical Interpretation
Quaestiones
Literal Interpretation
Historical Narrative
Theorists
Summary
Exegete
Genesis
Aristotelian
Scripture

Cite this

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title = "Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God: Augustine's approach to reading the Old Testament",
abstract = "Summary of Guido Jacobs, {"}Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God{"}This PhD thesis is about two of Augustine's late works, De Genesi ad Litteram(‘The literal interpretation of Genesis’, which deals with the creation account)and Quaestiones in Heptateuchum (‘Questions on the Heptateuch’, hiscommentary on the first seven books of the Old Testament). It is veryremarkable that Augustine, well-known for his use of allegorical interpretation,in these works shifts to a historical interpretation.In De Genesi ad Litteram, Augustine argues that the creation narrative ishistorically true, but that it nevertheless contains metaphors, in order to conveythe metaphysical meaning of the act of creation. Augustine develops a new,fascinating view of metaphor, in which metaphors are deemed necessary forunderstanding metaphysical concepts, which cannot be explained in literalterms. This surpasses the Aristotelian view of metaphor, which was the view ofmetaphor in Augustine's time, and it also goes beyond allegorical interpretation,which attempts to decode the divine message of Scripture.Quaestiones in Heptateuchum is a relatively neglected work, in whichAugustine meticulously investigates the historical narrative for its own sake. Inaddition, he uses generalization, a form of literal interpretation, to distil moralprinciples from the historical narrative. Furthermore, he investigates the OldTestament laws, and assesses which ones hold eternally.Considering the scope of this study, this book might be of interest toAugustinian scholars, as well as metaphor theorists and exegetes.",
author = "Guido Jacobs",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
isbn = "9789490393687",
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school = "Tilburg University",

}

Jacobs, G 2018, 'Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God: Augustine's approach to reading the Old Testament', Doctor of Philosophy, Tilburg University, Bergambacht.

Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God : Augustine's approach to reading the Old Testament. / Jacobs, Guido.

Bergambacht : Uitgeverij 2VM, 2018. 224 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisScientific

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AB - Summary of Guido Jacobs, "Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God"This PhD thesis is about two of Augustine's late works, De Genesi ad Litteram(‘The literal interpretation of Genesis’, which deals with the creation account)and Quaestiones in Heptateuchum (‘Questions on the Heptateuch’, hiscommentary on the first seven books of the Old Testament). It is veryremarkable that Augustine, well-known for his use of allegorical interpretation,in these works shifts to a historical interpretation.In De Genesi ad Litteram, Augustine argues that the creation narrative ishistorically true, but that it nevertheless contains metaphors, in order to conveythe metaphysical meaning of the act of creation. Augustine develops a new,fascinating view of metaphor, in which metaphors are deemed necessary forunderstanding metaphysical concepts, which cannot be explained in literalterms. This surpasses the Aristotelian view of metaphor, which was the view ofmetaphor in Augustine's time, and it also goes beyond allegorical interpretation,which attempts to decode the divine message of Scripture.Quaestiones in Heptateuchum is a relatively neglected work, in whichAugustine meticulously investigates the historical narrative for its own sake. Inaddition, he uses generalization, a form of literal interpretation, to distil moralprinciples from the historical narrative. Furthermore, he investigates the OldTestament laws, and assesses which ones hold eternally.Considering the scope of this study, this book might be of interest toAugustinian scholars, as well as metaphor theorists and exegetes.

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

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T3 - Theologische Perspectieven Supplement Series

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Jacobs G. Metaphor, history and the ineffability of God: Augustine's approach to reading the Old Testament. Bergambacht: Uitgeverij 2VM, 2018. 224 p. (Theologische Perspectieven Supplement Series).