Rupert of Deutz on Matthew: A study in exegetical method

Karl Fredrick Fabrizius, Marquette University


The text of Rupert of Deutz's commentary on Matthew has been available in the critical edition of R. Haacke since 1979. Although the visions of Rupert which he narrates in this text have attracted some attention because of their novelty, the work has not been analyzed for exegetical method. John van Engen's Rupert of Deutz is the springboard for the study of Rupert as a medieval exegete. Abigail Young's unpublished dissertation regarding Rupert's commentary on John attempted to deal with Rupert's exegetical method, but left many unanswered questions. How should one describe the exegesis of Rupert: liturgical, monastic, spiritual, allegorical, "sacramental," or perhaps something else? This dissertation surveys the literature relating to medieval exegesis for comparison to the actual exegesis of Rupert. The accepted meanings of terms such as "allegorical exegesis," allegory, "spiritual exegesis," monastic and scholastic theology are examined to determine their applicability to Rupert's exegetical method. Rupert's social setting and his disputes with Laon are also examined as formative influences on his reading of the text. Special attention is given to the treatment of Rupert's "journey" to becoming an exegete through the visions recorded in Book Twelve. His "journey" is contrasted with the autobiographical materials of Guibert of Nogent and Peter Abelard. Finally, his exegesis of the birth narrative and the Sermon on the Mount are examined as examples of his method. Rupert's method is incarnational and sacramental. His confidence in textual matters is based upon his calling by the Holy Spirit: first in the waters of baptism and then in the visions. The visions are the journey to a complete union with the Incarnate Lord so that Rupert becomes an "incarnation" of the sacred text. Rupert is a living concordance of the sacred text and uses the Scriptures themselves as the chief interpreter of the Scriptures. A pastoral heart reveals itself in Rupert's exposition of the text that others might be comforted as he had been comforted by the One whose "yoke is easy" and "burden is light."

Recommended Citation

Fabrizius, Karl Fredrick, "Rupert of Deutz on Matthew: A study in exegetical method" (1994). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9433776.