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Augustinianum

Volume 57, Issue 2, December 2017

Maria Antonietta Barbàra
Pages 569-591

L’esegesi patristica del «Vino» del Cantico dei Cantici

The image of wine has a “spiritual sense”, which helps the faithful to understand the principles of their belief. Its mystery is connected with the theme of “sober inebriation”, developed by Philo of Alexandria and Origen, and culminating in Ambrose. The good wines that the bride enjoys before the groom’s arrival are a symbol of the good doctrines of the OT, whose teachings are however inferior to the revelation of the incarnate Christ. Good, sweet wine, meanwhile, refers to the doctrines of the NT interpreted spiritually, the logos that helps us begin to know Christ, to bind ourselves to him in ecclesial unity and to love our neighbour. It also leads us to the “winepress”, i.e. renouncing superfluous land, becoming “full of must” and inebriated, so that we can dedicate ourselves to contemplation. The vine has a Christological value and catechetical function, dating back to John 15.1, which is often quoted with Saint Paul. The place where the vine is born and develops is the soul; the Logos supports its flowering in those who, by their free will, choose to flourish. The cluster of grapes refers to Christ, or to the victory of the righteous; the many grapes that he contains are believers. The vineyard is a symbol of the church formed by the pagans, of the commandments of God, or of the good things that God gave to man, who did not preserve them, having been stripped of them by the devil. The guardians of the vineyard are angels or priests.

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