Modern Theology 15 (3):271-295 (1999)

Graham John Ward
University of Oxford
What I wish to argue for in this essay is the theological advantage of turning from the stasis of analogy and symbol to the dynamism and semiosis of allegory. The move from static, atemporal discussions of analogy and symbol to allegory will lend itself to a rather different model for the hermeneutical task. It is one that is founded upon narrative, mimesis and participation, and one that presents a more dynamic view of the relationship between revelation , disclosure , representation and knowledge. I begin by examining a constellation of inter‐related ideas—narrative, participation in an unfolding tradition, knowledge and discipleship—in what is often read as an appeal in the Lukan Preface to historical facts. I then return to Aristotle, to develop the rich association between mimesis and phronesis, rhetoric and knowledge, and to point out the ambiguous nature of analogy to ontology. The practice of living, for Aristotle, I suggest, is allegorical. It is with Gregory of Nyssa's work on allegory that I put together the Lukan emphasis upon participation and discipleship with an account of reading creation allegorically. With Gregory, we learn how to read the world in the light of its Christic watermark and in the power of a Trinitarian desire. In modernity such allegorical reading fell out of favour, and it is a recapitulation of that theologically informed, allegorical reading that this essay finally exhorts
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DOI 10.1111/1468-0025.00099
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