Biblical Poetics Before Humanism and Reformation is a study of the interpretation of the Bible in the late Middle Ages. Scholastic theologians developed a distinct attitude toward textual meaning in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries which departed significantly from earlier trends. Their attitude tended to erode the distinction, emphasized by the scholars of St. Victor in the twelfth century, between literal and spiritual senses of scripture. Christopher Ocker argues that interpreters developed a biblical poetics very similar to that cultivated and promoted by Protestants in the sixteenth century, which was reinforced by the adaptation of humanist rhetoric to Bible reading after Lorenzo Valla. The book is a comparative study, drawing from a variety of unpublished commentaries as well as more familiar works by Nicholas of Lyra, John Wyclif, Jean Gerson, Denys the Carthusian, Wendelin Steinbach, Desiderius Erasmus, Philip Melanchthon, and John Calvin.
Taken from the hardback review: 'This is a ground-breaking book, in which there are discoveries on every page.' G. R. Evans, Church Times Taken from the hardback review: '... Luther and Calvin did not emerge from a vacuum and, as Dr Ocker shows, much of what they had to say - and particularly their hermeneutical principles - can be found more or less fully developed several generations before they began to preach and teach ...Students of early Protestantism will need to read this book carefully and absorb its insights in order to gain a deeper understanding of what it was that produced the great sixteenth century upheaval.' Churchman Taken from the hardback review: 'No-one interested in the long history of Christian - or, more broadly, 'western' hermeneutics - can afford to ignore Ocker's work.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History Taken from the hardback review: '... provocative ...Ocker has offered the scholarly community much food for thought and new texts to analyze ...' Marginalia Taken from the hardback review: 'In Biblical Poetics before Humanism and Reformation, Ocker chronicles with exemplary scholarly depth, linguistic competence and erudite yet not pedantic prose the key shift in biblical hermeneutic, rhetoric and theology in the late Middle Ages.' Scottish Journal of Theology