Saturday, March 9, 2013

Perspicuitas of The Scriptures & The Quadriga


Joseph Ratzinger (now ex-pope) writes on perspicuitas:
'Luther was persuaded of the "perspicuitas" of Scripture-of its being unequivocal, a quality that rendered superfluous any official institution for determining its interpretation.'
and adds:
'Yet this fundamental postulate of Scripture's unambiguousness has had to be dropped, on account of both the structure of the Word and the concrete experiences of scriptural interpretation. It is untenable on the basis of the objective structure of the Word, on account of its own dynamic, which points beyond what is written. It is above all the most profound meaning of the Word that is grasped only when we move beyond what is merely written'
Thus, apparently, his preference for the gospel of John. The conclusion that the perspecuitas of scripture should be discarded while the 'meaning of the Word' transcends the written text seems premature.

We could, for example, argue that 'the most profound meaning of the Word' can be found through the Quadriga, the fourfold sense of scripture. In Contra Celsum Origen writes:
'In what follows, Celsus, assailing the Mosaic history, finds fault with those who give it a tropical and allegorical signification'
In a blogpost on the Hermeneutic Principles in Typological Interpretation Geoff Gummer writes:
'The influence of the Alexandrian school, along with Ambrose of Milan and Augustine, was critical for the development of the Quadriga, the fourfold sense of scripture: literal, allegorical, tropological, and anagogical'
 Francis Turretin on the Quadriga:
'Thus allegory, analogy and tropology are not so much diverse senses as applications of one literal sense.'
Breuss Wane wrote in 2008:
'(Geerhardus) Vos himself posited something very much like the medieval quadriga when he talked about the progress of revelation being like a "seed to flower"'
Via my previous blogpost on Origen and (Platonic) idealism in the letter to the Hebrews, another post on Reading the New Testament in context of Hebrews 12 and this post by Wim van der Schee on the specific traits that defined the Theological University in Kampen the first half of the 20th century, and some searching online, I ended up inside Schilder's inaugural address where we read:
'In this perspecuitas-acceptance lies the unity between 1834 and 1934, between Hendrik de Cock and us. And in the need to replace the 'naive' acceptance of the 'obviousness' (perspicuitas) of revelation, from the days of 1834, by a deliberate enforcement of this now in 1934 as one of the dominant points in the issues of our time, I see here the diversity demonstrated inside the unity which I just mentioned'
The deliberate enforcement of the perspecuitas of scripture as interpretative tool, which value should be judged by it's fruits.

(Let's also read the article (Plato's) Eros or Christ to see how Schilder's Plato interpretation can help us)
Perspicuitas certainly was very important.

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