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Journal of the Bible and its Reception

Managing Editor: Kraemer, David / Marsengill, Katherine

Ed. by Black, Fiona C. / Oekland, Jorunn / MacDonald, Nathan / Ocker, Christopher

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Divisio Textus and the Interpretive Logic Of Thomas Aquinas’ Lectura Ad Ephesios

Eric Covington
Published Online: 2017-06-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2017-2001


Henri de Lubac has proclaimed that medieval exegetical texts contain a “whole mental universe” within their pages. While full of promise, de Lubac’s statement also points to the problem of how modern readers may profitably engage the unfamiliar mental universe of such texts. The distinctive scholastic practice of structuring a composition by divisio textus can function as a helpful guide not only for understanding the structure of medieval texts but also for understanding the interpretive logic employed by medieval commentators. By focusing on Thomas Aquinas’ lectura ad Ephesios, this paper demonstrates how the divisio textus can help identify important aspects of a commentator’s interpretive logic. The article then turns to examine Aquinas’ interpretation of predestination in Eph 1:5–6a to demonstrate the significance of the divisio textus for understanding medieval exegetical and interpretive decisions at both the macro- and micro-level. The article concludes that the divisio textus can be a helpful tool for uncovering the “mental universe” contained within medieval exegetical texts.

Keywords: divisio textus; Thomas Aquinas; Ephesians; teleological ethics; medieval exegesis

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About the article

Published Online: 2017-06-23

Published in Print: 2017-04-25

Citation Information: Journal of the Bible and its Reception, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 21–41, ISSN (Online) 2329-4434, ISSN (Print) 2329-440X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2017-2001.

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