Literal sense

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The literal sense ( Latin sensus litteralis from littera "letter") denotes the simple or literal sense of a linguistic utterance. In more recent uses, the term is v. a. related to the way words or phrases are normally used.

In antiquity and in the Middle Ages , a distinction was made between several levels of meaning, especially in religious texts (cf. quadruple sense of writing ). In narrative texts, the literal sense was often referred to as "historical sense" (Latin sensus historicus ). What was meant by this was the reproduction of external events, as - according to modern knowledge - can also be determined by historical methods. Many medieval authors, for example Thomas Aquinas , use the term sensus litteralis or sensus historicus in a broader sense.

Delimitation of the term

The expansion of the meaning of a text “beyond the literal sense begins with the typological interpretation or typology ( ancient Greek τύπος typos = 'archetype, example'), in which a real person or an event relates to another person or another event is set ".

An opposite term is figurative sense ( sensus metaphoricus ) or figurative sense . Many rhetorical stylistic devices (language figures) have a figurative meaning.

From literalism is spoken when a text understanding is reductively limited to the literal - particularly with regard to religious texts. Many religious scholars associate such an understanding of the text with religious fundamentalism .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Katarzyna M. Jaszczolt, Ken Turner (Ed.): Meaning Through Language Contrast. Vol. 2. John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia 2003, ISBN 1-58811-207-1 , p. 141.
  2. Joachim Vette:  Biblical interpretation, Christian. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen, Stefan Alkier (eds.): The scientific biblical lexicon on the Internet (WiBiLex), Stuttgart 2006 ff., Accessed on March 25, 2013.
  3. See e.g. B. Martin Riesebrodt : Fundamentalism as a patriarchal protest movement. Tübingen 1990, p. 19f.