By Alan Jacobs
If the complete of the Christian lifestyles is to be ruled by way of the “law of love”—the twofold love of God and one’s neighbor—what may possibly it suggest to learn lovingly? that's the query that drives this specific booklet. Jacobs pursues this demanding job by means of alternating principally theoretical, theological chapters—drawing especially on Augustine and Mikhail Bakhtin—with interludes that examine specific readers (some actual, a few fictional) within the act of interpreting. one of the authors thought of are Shakespeare, Cervantes, Nabakov, Nicholson Baker, George Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dickens. The theoretical framework is elaborated more often than not chapters, whereas quite a few counterfeits of or substitutes for surely charitable interpretation are thought of within the interludes, which steadily shut in on that infrequent creature, the loving reader. via this doubled approach to research, Jacobs attempts to teach how tough it really is to learn charitably—even may still one desire to, which, in fact, few people do. And accurately as the prospect of examining in one of these demeanour is so offputting, one of many covert targets of the publication is to make it look either extra believable and extra appealing.
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Extra info for A Theology of Reading: The Hermeneutics of Love
Enabled him to do, which is to reconfigure a readini experience in order to profit, spiritually a i d morally, from it. " When we revise our readings in this way, we achieve what Aug~stineachieved through nzrmof-in,as he looked back over the events of his life and reinterpreted them according to his hard-won understanding of God's purpose for his life. A healthy studiousness i s of course not pleasure. But might it he said that a certain kind of pleasure is the fruit of such studiousness? After all, it is only by adopting the appropriate hermeneutical stance that we are able truly to appreciate Dante's verbal skill, first in fashioning the curse-fest of Sinon and Master Adam and then in providing a context in which that curse-fest is transformed.
Only when our hermeneutical resourcefulness is exhausteci do we, regretfully, accept unintelligibility. hTotethat for Davidson this "principle of charity," as he calls it, is not something we choose, or pursue, or cultivate. It's just what we do. We choose charitable interpretation only insofar as we choose to converse with people; but once we do choose to converse with people, this "charity" is immediately consequent. It is perhaps not even correct to call it something we ""d," an action: It is 113ore an envirmxmt in which we dwell.
The partictrlar thing most for. . I've written n ~ t~ooks y ". . ['l"]here5 an idea in n ~ ywork without which I wouldn? have e e n a straw for the whole job. Iththc &nestftlllest intention of the 1