Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Ἀλληγορία signifies saying (ἀγορεύειν) some things but meaning others (ἄλλα).

The definition of allegory mentioned at the beginning, saying something but meaning something else, was given in the early imperial age by Heraclitus the grammarian, or rhetor, in his Homeric Allegories (5), an allegorical interpretation of the Homeric poems. This definition covers mainly the first of the two principal meanings of allegory:

1.  as a compositional method – writing an allegorical text, in which the literal level diffe…

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Ramelli, Ilaria L.E., “Allegory”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 05 June 2020 <>
First published online: 2018

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