The phrase medieval criticism is used throughout this chapter, as it less cumbersome than ‘criticism of the Middle Ages’. The chapter first presents a brief account of the principles of grammatica and Neoplatonism, and then explores the impact of Aristotle on biblical criticism before briefly reviewing ideas about poetry and drama prior to the rise of the vernacular. Grammatica was subdivided into lectio, enarratio, emendatio, and indicium. The main proponents of NeoPlatonism were Plotinus, his disciple and literary executor Porphyry, and Proclus. Moreover, the efficient cause (the author) and the formal cause (forma tractandi and forma tractatus) are examined, as they are more relevant to a brief history of criticism than the material cause and the final cause. The chapter generally shows how Christian commentators made use of pagan approaches to poetry and philosophy, and how they adapted these for biblical study.
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