The Fourth Gospel In The Twelfth Century: Rupert Of Deutz On The Gospel Of John

Copyright (C) 1998 by Abigail Ann Young


This paper is based on my PhD thesis at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1983, written under the direction of the late Professor Walter Principe, CSB. I had originally been interested in Rupert, a traditional Benedictine, as an exemplary figure of pre-Scholastic mediaeval exegesis. Too often in looking at the pre-Scholastic period, we focus just on the factors which seem in retrospect to be proto-Scholastic and even among mediaevalists, the history of exegesis seldom gets as much attention as it deserves. Rupert rejected the values and interpretive concerns of those we now recognise as the forerunners of Scholasticism and strove to work within the thought-world of monastic and contemplative Scripture reading, assuredly the way the Bible was most often read in the Middle Ages.

However, I experienced technical difficulties in re-working the thesis into something publishable. First, I kept ending up with something too long for an article, but too short for a book. I've also had difficulty in deciding whether the audience I wanted to reach was professional medievalists only or the much wider world of people interested in the study of the Bible, and attempts to write for both, since they have very different levels of prior knowledge, have been difficult. I've also become reluctant to spend more time on Rupert as my interests have now moved on, or rather, back, to my first love, Alexander of Hales, an extraordinary English Franciscan exegete at the University of Paris in the early thirteenth century, and his postilla, or lecture-series, on John. I expect that working on Alexander will fully occupy my spare time for quite awhile.

The Web gives me the opportunity to offer this work as it stands to whoever might be interested in it, whether professional medievalist or keen amateur of Biblical interpretation. It can provide a useful introduction for readers from a variety of backgrounds to mediaeval exegesis in the pre-Scholastic period and also to Rupert himself. Detailed analysis of single works or single authors provides building blocks for inter- or multi-disciplinary study. I hope that you find it useful and will be glad to answer any questions you might have.

A formal disclaimer -- The Centre for Computing in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) kindly provides facilities to humanities researchers for e-mail and other forms of Internet access. I am grateful to be able to take advantage of those facilities to make this material accessible on the Web. However, CHASS is in no way responsible or liable for anything contained within these writings: that responsibility lies entirely with me, the copyright holder. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please write to me at "".

Abigail Ann Young, February 1998

Bibliographic Note:

The majority of Rupert's extant writings have been edited either in the Patrologia Latina (PL) or Corpus Christianorum Latinorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis (CCM). The following editions are referred to frequently in the Notes:

Commentaria in euangelium sancti Iohannis, ed. Rh. Haacke, CCM 9 (Turnhout, 1969), (Commentary). Unfortunately the text of this edition has been marred by typographical and other printing errors, so that it is still necessary to consult the older edition in PL 169.201-826.

De diuinis officiis, ed. Rh. Haacke, CCM 7 (Turnhout, 1967), (Office).

De gloria et honore filii hominis super Mattheum, ed. Rh. Haacke, CCM 29 (Turnhout, 1979), (Glory and Honour).

De sancta Trinitate et operibus eius, ed. Rh. Haacke, CCM 21-4 (Turnhout, 1971-2), (Trinity).

De victoria Verbi Dei, ed. Rh. Haacke, Monumenta Germanicae Historiae Quellen zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, Band 5 (Weimar, 1970), (Victory).

In quaedam capitula Regulae S. Benedicti, PL 170.477-538, (Rule).

Return to Home Page

Go to the top of the page

Go to Main Menu of Translations

Go to Sermon List