Valentin Weigel and The Fourfold Interpretation of the Creation

Document Type


Publication Date



The authenticity of a fragmentary work attributed to Valentin Weigel and com-
prising four parallel exegeses of the first chapter of Genesis has been disputed by
some scholars. In this investigation, I argue in favor of authenticity on several
grounds. 1. The announced purpose of the disputed work matches the similarly
stated proposals of several authentic Weigelian writings. 2. Far from being
incoherent in design, the disputed writing presents a Renaissance reformulation of
the scholastic four senses of Scripture, in the order of the literal, allegorical,
anagogic, and tropological. 3. In a manner consistent with other works by Weigel,
the disputed writing speaks to his relationship to Luther, whose Lectures on
Genesis are cited knowledgeably, though without nominal attribution. 4. The
numerous repetitions and inadequacies of The Fourfold Interpretation of the
Creation that appear to militate against authenticity could stem from the ambitions
of an authentically Weigelian quest for multiple approaches to the same biblical
material, a project discontinued and then conclusively terminated by the author’s
death before sufficient variations could be elaborated.


This article was originally published as “Valentin Weigel and The Fourfold Interpretation of the Creation,” Daphnis 34:1-2 (2005): pp. 1-22. (22 pages)