“Innocent III (1198-1216) and the Old Testament: politics and exegesis in the liberatio domini papae innocentii super facto imperii de tribus electis”
The reseach on Innocent III’s letters is puzzled by the number of his quotations of the Old Testament.This article will examine the pope’s exegetical method in the Deliberatio domini papae Innocentii super facto imperii de tribus electis. Innocent himself ordered this collection of his letters to be made. At the very least, he read the letters and corrected them, selected the Biblical quotations and commented them, so that they reflect his ideology and Biblical learning. Written from 1198 to 1209, the letters express the pope’s strong opposition to the election of Frederic, the emperor Henry VI Hohenstaufen’s (d.1197) son, or of Philip of Swabia, Henry VI’s brother. Fearing the Hohenstaufen’s imperialistic policies in Italy, the pope supported the
candidacy of the Welf Otto of Brunswick, the nephew of Richard the Lionheart (d.1199) and John Lackland. In order to convince the German electors to elect Otto, the pope quoted and commented the Old Testament, reinforcing his exegesis by means of Canon Law. This discussion of Innocent’s exegetical method is placed in the frame of the evolution of twelfth century Biblical exegesis, from St. Bernard to Andrew of St Victor
and the Parisian schools where Innocent had studied theology.
Keywords: Innocent III; Deliberatio; Old Testament; letters; Philip of Swabia Hohenstaufen.