Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Joseph T. Lienhard S.J. - Hermeneutics in Augustine’s Locutiones in Heptateuchum

In the summer of 419, Augustine worked his way through the first seven books of the Old Testament.  As he did so, he dictated two works: Quaestiones in Heptateuchum and Locutiones in Heptateuchum.  In the course of preparing an English translation of these two works (the first one ever made), I noticed a pair of words that recurred frequently in the Locutiones: “sensus” and “locutio.”  Their basic meaning appears to be “literal sense” and “idiom” or “figural meaning.”  But the matter calls for further consideration.  In my short communication, I would like to consider Augustine’s use of these two words more carefully, and also to expand the consideration to other hermeneutical terms that Augustine uses in the Locutiones.  Since these terms are different from the ones that he uses in works like De doctrina christiana, the paper should make a small but significant new contribution to knowledge of Augustine’s vocabulary for hermeneutics.  The communication will be based on the (now completed) translation of the Locutiones in Heptateuchum.

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