S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 5 3 Rastislav Nemec 3 Medieval Integumental Allegory as a Basis of New Spirituality The second type of allegory was influenced by the sources described in the homiletic and exegetic works of Aurelius Augustinus. As Edouard Jeauneau pertinently remarks, Augustine interprets the commandment of God for the Hebrew nation to steal golden vessels from the Egyptians as an inspiration for the Christian thinker (in the commentary to Exodus XI and XII): Augustine should take the ancient patrimony of the pagans and integrate this treasure of knowledge into Christian faith (Jeauneau 1963, 9). 3.1 Pagan Myths as a Source of Christian Exegesis In the beginning of a new millennium, medieval allegoresis adopts the tendency indicated by Augustine. This is a period during which the theoretical and practical possibilities of implementing ancient patrimony meet in an ideal way. We can say that until the 12th century, theology dealt mainly with exegesis – the interpretation of the Scripture, i.e. , the analysis of the God’s message in the Scripture, which represented the core of all biblical efforts. This is proven by the literary genre of the Glossa Ordinaria – complete commentaries on the biblical books that ended in this period and ceased being popular. The emphasis slowly moved from rhetorical allegory (Lat. allegoria in verbis) to an allegory of facts (Lat. allegoria in factis) – from the concrete word as the center of the meaning to things understood as a sign. This new sign and its function are not a part of any text (like during ancient times); it becomes a part of reality, part of the nature that surrounds us. This new stream of spiritual inspiration tells us that the whole of nature is a book, which is – just like the text – covered by the veil of the unknown and requires a special way of reading. 3.2 Nature Instead of Book The change in the case of this new allegory also happens regarding the sign function – our world is a world of primary signs (Lat. res primae) describing the primary intentions and objectives of the Creator (Lat. res secundae) as Alain of Lille mentions in his work De planctu naturae. The second meaning of the signs is manifold. Nature as creation is the sign, while man represents the object related to this sign. Nature gives people signals they can read, signals that can lead them back to the core. Alain posits the pole of human freedom and dignity against the pole of nature/laws that form an ordered universe. He thus elevates man’s freedom above “ordinary” necessity and patterns of nature and his morality above all regularity. “The apotheosis of the perfect man”– as Dominik Chenu calls it (1966, 16) – culminates in the emphasizing of a universe of moral values and virtue that is bound to this world of nature/ naturalness, and yet also exceeds it. If man lets himself be governed by the senses, he violates his own divinity and is excluded from the cosmic order (Pumprová 2009, 223). According to Chenu, this allegory gives rise to a new mentality that forsakes the history of a narrow shaping of the textual interpretation of Scripture and incorporates the history of the cosmos and the world (Lat. theologia mundana) into its theme (Chenu 1966, 59).