Tropological reading  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Tropological reading is a Christian tradition, theory, and practice of interpreting the figurative meaning of the Bible. It is part of Biblical exegesis.


According to ideas developed by the Church Fathers, the literal meaning, or God-intended meaning of the words of the Bible, may be either figurative or non-figurative; for instance, in the Song of Songs (also called Canticles or Song of Solomon), the inspired meaning is always figurative. The typical meaning is the inspired meaning of words referring to persons, things, and actions of the Old Testament which are inspired types of persons, things, and actions of the New Testament.

The early uses of allegory and tropology were very close. Later a clearer distinction was made between the allegorical mystical, and tropological moral, styles of interpretation.

Literary critic Henry Louis Gates also defines tropological revision in relation to African-American literature, in his work The Signifying Monkey.

See also

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