Zurück ins Paradies. Der Rabe, die Taube und das Ende der Sintflut
Karel Appel, 'Femmes, enfants, animaux,' 1951: oil on jute, 170 x 280 cm © Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst Amstelveen


Raven and Dove
Animal Allegory
History of Theology

How to Cite

Roling, B. (2018). Zurück ins Paradies. Der Rabe, die Taube und das Ende der Sintflut. Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures, (5), 154–174. https://doi.org/10.13130/interfaces-05-11
Received 2017-12-26
Accepted 2019-01-28
Published 2018-12-29


When the Flood finally disappeared, according to Genesis 8 Noah sent out first the raven and afterwards the dove as messengers. According to the Hebrew Bible, both birds returned to the ark. According to the Greek Septuaginta and the Vulgata, however, the raven failed and remained absent. Since both versions of the text nevertheless were transmitted to the Western world by Jerome, the question arose of how to unify the stories. The paper sums up the many medieval and early modern approaches to the biblical text, taking into account the long tradition of medieval allegory on the one hand, as well as the search for the sensus litteralis on the other and the attempts to reconcile the different versions of the story. The final section is dedicated to the interpretations developed by early modern physico-theology to explain the different behaviour of the animals. The article demonstrates that even in this case medieval strategies kept their attraction.

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