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Augustine And The Ethics Of Reading The Bible

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Chapter Summary

The dynamics of ?reception? not only includes the discernment of the impact of reader response, such as the hermeneutics of suspicion, but also takes into consideration the impact of what J. Hillis Miller calls ?the ethics of reading&t;. This chapter draws attention to a possible contribution of Augustine of Hippo to the contemporary analysis of text-reader response. Contemporary scholars in the field of semiotics can trace their intellectual lineage back to the philosophical discussions concerning the theory of signs in classical antiquity. For Augustine, reader-responsiveness not only includes responsiveness to the text, and the authorial intention of the text, but also includes a social dimension of responsiveness to the reading of others who encounter the same biblical text. The transformative dynamic, imaged by Augustine as a graduated ascent to Wisdom, leads to an ever-intensifying responsiveness to the text.

Keywords: Augustine of Hippo; biblical text; classical antiquity



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