Bible, Theology

Master of the Sacred Page: Senses of Holy Scripture

Taught by Ryan Hurd
Crosslist: Theology
Difficulty: Intermediate
Runs 9/25 – 12/9/2023
$225.00 – $399.00

This course explores the twofold sense of holy Scripture, encompassing the literal and spiritual senses (allegorical, anagogical, and moral). It focuses on the tradition of the catholic church, particularly during the high medieval and neoscholastic periods. The course aims to familiarize students with the twofold sense doctrine and its application in the interpretation of holy Scripture. Lectures approach the topic theologically, while readings provide a traditional perspective. The objective is to affirm, comprehend, and intelligently apply the twofold sense in explaining holy Scripture.

Deadline to register: Wednesday, September 13th




Auditing ($225):

participate in readings and live class sessions, but no graded assignments and no course credit

Full course (Full-Time Discount) ($275):

for-credit courses (at least four per term) toward our Certificate or M.Litt in Classical Protestantism

Full course ($399):

individual classes on a for-credit basis; you can later apply them toward a Certificate or Degree




This Bible/Theology course will be taught by Ryan Hurd, and will run from September 25th through December 9th. The syllabus is available here.

This course considers the twofold sense of holy Scripture, sometimes called the quadriga (the literal sense and the three species of the spiritual sense, allegorical, anagogical, and moral), as articulated in the tradition of the catholic church, especially prominent in the high medievals and neoscholastics. Whereas the course does aim to familiarize the student with the tradition on this question, nonetheless it is primarily the doctrine of the twofold sense of holy Scripture which is in view (i.e., in this class, we are not historians, but theologians). We consider whether there is a twofold sense in holy Scripture; what are the literal and spiritual sense; what are the proper and improper literal sense; what are the allegorical, anagogical, and moral spiritual sense; what is accommodative or applicational sense; and so on. Course lectures will cover this issue from the theological standpoint, whereas the readings will primarily cover this question from the traditional standpoint. The goal of this class is to affirm the twofold sense of holy Scripture and understand it, in order to apply it consistently, thoroughly, and intelligently in the concrete explanation of holy Scripture in whatever mode obtains. 

Ryan Hurd (Doctoral Student, Theologische Universiteit Kampen) is a systematic theologian whose area of expertise is doctrine of God, specifically the Trinity. His primary training is in the high medievals and early modern scholastics as well as the 20th century ressourcement movement. He has written a number of articles and regularly does translations of early modern theology sources; but his primary project is writing a systematics of the Trinity.


Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.

This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.