Allegory is the disclosure of hidden text contents. This means that one tries to read between the lines of a text and to see even more in it than the actual word meaning. Allegory is typical of the interpretation of the Bible, since it is seldom understood verbatim, but as a parable, and thus as allegory.
The term allegorism is derived from the Greek (ἀλληγορία ~ allegoria) and can be translated with other or even veiled language. The translation thus shows us very clearly what is at stake: the interpretation of a text, the meaning of which is now obscured.
Originally, the methodology of allegory goes back to antiquity when attempts were made to attribute to the scandalous stories of the gods of the Western author Homer a different and non-verbal meaning, in order to defend them and make them appear less explosive.
Allegory was therefore important in antiquity, but played a decisive role in Judaism and Christianity. An important contribution was made by the Stoics (representatives of a philosophy) who attempted to attribute to the individual Bible verses a separate meaning and not to understand them in the wording, but to assume a higher meaning in them.
Thus the allegory is the allegorical interpretation of a text, whereby the actual word-sense (that which stands there) is reinterpreted and consequently a deeper meaning is assumed.
As an example, the biblical supreme member can apply: In principle, we are dealing with an erotic poem that includes love between man and woman. This is often interpreted as a literary symbol for the love between Jesus and the Church or the love between God and man.
Allegory and allegorical
We must therefore distinguish between allegory and allegory. Allegory understands the text as allegory and interprets it from this point of view.
A text can already be created as an allegory (parable, parable, etc.) or can be explained to allegory only afterwards. For example, Jesus gave his disciples several parables, whereby it is clear that there is another level of interpretation behind them.
The essence of such a narrative, ie an allegorical speech, is that a story is told that basically stands for something else. Thus, an initial world is told (allegory) which becomes the intended world only through the interpretation (allegorical) of the recipient (listener, reader).
In order for the receiver to understand this second world, various stylistic devices are used. Either metaphors (metaphor examples) are used, or they are placed on the means of symbolism and personification in order to make the actual and meant world clear.
Note: For a recipient to interpret these metaphors, personifications, and symbols, it is important that they are familiar with it. However, the allegorical can also be done when a text is referred to as allegorizing or the allegory is explained by the narrator.
Explanation of allegory by example
The best way to illustrate the allegorical text interpretation is by means of an example. Let us look at the parable of the mustard seed that Jesus gave to the disciples.
The parable of the mustard (Mark 4: 30-32)
“And Jesus said, How shall we compare the kingdom of God, and by what parable shall we portray it? It is like a grain of mustard: when it is sown in the land, it is the smallest of all the seeds of the earth; and when it is sown, it grows and grows larger than all the herbs, and drives great branches, so that the birds can dwell under the shade under its shadow. ”
At the beginning, the text says that it wants to be interpreted as it is characterized as a parable. By definition, a parable is a rhetorical stylistic device that illustrates a complex fact by means of a comparison. Consequently, there are several layers of texts.
Obvious world: Basically it is described that a seedling grows when sown on fertile ground. It grows as a result in the course of time and is so great that it reaches as far as the sky and can give the birds shade.
Hidden World: Since Jesus describes the whole thing as a parable and compares the Samenkorn with the Kingdom of God, we know that we must interpret the semicorn with the help of allegory and connect both areas.
Thus, the kingdom of God exhibits all the qualities that are also inherent in a seed-seed when it once reaches and grows on fertile soil. We might even suppose that the seed of the Christian faith is itself, which always spreads itself and provides the faithful with shadow, that is, security.