Allegorical interpretation is an interpretive method (exegesis) which assumes that the Bible has various levels of meaning and tends to focus on the spiritual sense (which includes the allegorical sense, the moral (or tropological) sense, and the anagogical sense) as opposed to the literal sense. It is sometimes referred to as the Quadriga, a reference to the Roman chariot drawn by four horses.
 The four types of allegorical interpretation
Allegorical interpretation is sometimes referred to as the Quadriga, a reference to the Roman chariot pulled by four horses abreast. The four horses are symbolic of the four methods of allegorical interpretation: literal, anagogic, typological and tropological (or moral).
- Literal interpretation: translation of meaning of events for historical purposes with no underlying meaning.
- Anagogic interpretation: dealing with the future events of Christian history, heaven, hell, the last judgement, etc. (prophecies).
- Typological interpretation: connecting the events of the Old Testament with the New Testament, particularly drawing allegorical connections between the events of Christ’s life with the stories of the Old Testament.
- Tropological (or moral) interpretation: "the moral of the story", how one should act in the present.
A Latin rhyme designed to help scholars remember the four interpretations survives from the Middle Ages:
Litera gesta docet, Quid credas allegoria, Moralis quid agas, Quo tendas anagogia.
The rhyme is roughly translated: The literal teaches what God and our ancestors did, The allegory is where our faith and belief is hid, The moral meaning gives us the rule of daily life, The anagogy shows us where we end our strife.
 Allegorical interpretation in the Middle Ages
People of the Middle Ages shaped their ideas and institutions from drawing on the cultural legacies of the ancient world. They didn’t see the break between themselves and their predecessors that today’s observers see; they saw continuity with themselves and the ancient world using allegory to bring together the gaps. The use of allegorical interpretation in the Middle Ages began as a Christian method for studying the differences between the Old Testament and the New (tropological interpretation). Christian scholars believed both the Old and New Testament were equally inspired divinely by God and sought to understand the differences between Old Testament and New Testament Laws.  Medieval Scholars believe the Old Testament acts as an allegory of New Testament events, for an example, Jonah and the Whale represent Jesus' death and resurrection. According to the Old Testament book Jonah, A prophet spent 3 days in the belly of a whale. Medieval Scholars believed this was an allegory (using tropological interpretation) of Jesus' death and being in the tomb for 3 days before he rose from the dead.
Another popular allegorical work studied in the Middle Ages comes from Plato's The Republic. Commonly known as the Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all their lives facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. The work is an allegorical comment on the want of education in society at the time and the philosopher’s place in society as a teacher to enlighten the 'prisoners.'
 Allegorical interpretation in modern texts
Meaningful stories are nearly always applicable to larger issues and researchers can apply allegorical analysis and find meaning and symbolism that the author didn’t intend. For instance, many people have suggested Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is an allegory for the World Wars or that the one ring was an allegory for the atomic bomb. J.R.R. Tolkien insists that his works are not an allegory of any kind but the book(s) are open to interpretation as the reader sees fit.
 See also
- Stephan A. Barney (1989). "Allegory". Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Vol-1. ISBN 0-684-16760-3.
- Glucksberg, Sam (2001-07-26). Understanding Figurative Language from Metaphor to Idioms: From Metaphor to Idioms. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195111095.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, S.V. "Anagogical Interpretation", Accessed March 15, 2013.
- Hyde, Virginia (1992). The Risen Adam: D.H. Lawrence’s Revisionist Typology. ISBN 0271028459.
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). “Scriptural Tropology”. Catholic Encyclopaedia. Robert Appleton Company.
- Grant, Robert M. (1963). A Short History of Biblical Interpretation. New York. ISBN 0800617622
- William R. Cook and Ronald B. Herzman (2001). Discovering the Middle Ages. The Teaching Company. ISBN 1-56585-701-1
- Stephan A. Barney (1989). “Allegory.” Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Vol-1. ISBN 0-684-16760-3.
- Watt, Stephen (1997), "Introduction: The Theory of Forms (Books 5–7)", Plato: Republic, London: Wordsworth Editions, pp. pages xiv–xvi, ISBN 1-85326-483-0
- Tolkien, J.R.R. from Encyclopaedia of Science, Technology and Ethics. Macmillan Reference USA. Cited in “J.R.R. Tolkien Summary.” BookRags.
- Sharing the Narnia Experience:A Family Guide to C. S. Lewis's the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Paul Friskney p. 12
- Carpenter, The Inklings, p.42-45. See also Lewis' own autobiography Surprised by Joy.
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