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Franciscan Studies 60 (2002) 159 ST. BONAVENTURE AS BIBLICAL INTERPRETER: HIS METHODS, WIT, AND WISDOM Five recent publications have provided me with most of the categories I will employ in looking at St. Bonaventure as a biblical interpreter in his commentary on St. Luke’s Gospel.1 In his study of St. Ambrose’s Commentary on Luke’s Gospel Celestino Corsato devoted Part I to Ambrose’s hermeneutics, Part II of his study to Ambrose’s “Exegetical Tools,” to wit, a study of numbers, etymology, and names of food, animals, plants, and other objects. In Part III he investigated Ambrose’s sources.2 M. Michèle Mulchahey alerted me to the use of distinctiones and tradition in medieval commentators, especially among the Dominicans.3 Barbara Faes de Mottoni opened my eyes to see Bonaventure’s commentary on Luke’s Gospel as an exposition for preachers, to discern its Franciscan emphases, and to investigate its indebtedness to Hugh of St. Cher.4 It was especially Gilbert Dahan who directed me to see the scientific nature of Bonaventure’s Commentary on Luke’s Gospel.5 Finally, it was Gordon Fee’s widely used book on contemporary methods in the study of the New Testament that gave me the needed foundation, as I engaged in comparing the relatively unknown (Bonaventure’s medieval methods) with the known (contemporary methods).6 1 In my role as a professionally trained and practicing New Testament exegete I will supply the category of the contemporary nature of Bonaventure’s exposition of Luke’s Gospel. 2 La Expositio euangelii secundum Lucam di sant’Ambrogio: Ermeneutica, simbologia, fonti (Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 43; Rome: Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, 1993). 3 ‘First the Bow is Bent in Study….’ Dominican Education before 1350 (Studies and Texts 132; Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1998), especially 480-526. 4 “Introduzione” in Commento al Vangelo di San Luca/1 (1-4). Introduzione, revisione e note a cura di Barbara Faes de Mottoni. Traduzione di Paola Müller (cc. I-III) e Silvana Martignoni (c. IV). (Rome: Città Nuova, 1999) 7-26. 5 “Genres, Forms and Various Methods in Christian Exegesis of the Middle Ages,” in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation. Volume I: Part 2, The Middle Ages. Ed. Magne Sæbø. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000) 196-236. This is an abbreviated version of his L’exégèse chrétienne de la Bible en Occident medieval XIIe-XIVe siècle (Paris: Cerf, 1999). 6 New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors. Third edition. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002). ROBERT J. KARRIS 160 After describing the nature of Bonaventure’s Commentary on Luke’s Gospel and briefly investigating Bonaventure’s hermeneutics, I will compare Bonaventure’s methods with the fifteen-step method found in Gordon Fee’s textbook. Along the way I will make observations about Bonaventure’s wit and wisdom, especially as articulated in his wisdom Christology. In a final section I will delve into Bonaventure’s Franciscan emphases and the contemporary nature of his Commentary. A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE NATURE OF BONAVENTURE’S COMMENTARY ON LUKE’S GOSPEL The critical edition of Bonaventure’s Commentary on Luke’s Gospel was published in 1895 by the Quaracchi editors, comprises almost all of the seventh volume of his Opera Omnia, and runs from page 3 to page 604 in double columns.7 The paperback edition of this seventh volume weighs in at a hefty 7.2 pounds or three and a quarter kilos. The best contemporary model I can find to describe the style of this commentary is The New Interpreter’s Bible which is now complete in twelve volumes from Abingdon Press. Take Volume 9 on Luke and John. The authors are renowned scholars (R. Alan Culpepper; Gail R. O’Day), who after presenting a scholarly introduction, an outline of the gospel, and a bibliography, provide the English text in two translations (NIV and NRSV) and then offer a scientific commentary in double columns. During the course of their commentary the authors may provide additional bibliography or expound on a Greek word, which is given in Greek and in English transliteration and translation. After this double column of...


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