By Alan Jacobs
If the total 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 perhaps it suggest to learn lovingly? that's the query that drives this targeted booklet. Jacobs pursues this hard activity through alternating mostly theoretical, theological chapters—drawing peculiarly on Augustine and Mikhail Bakhtin—with interludes that examine specific readers (some genuine, a few fictional) within the act of studying. one of the authors thought of are Shakespeare, Cervantes, Nabakov, Nicholson Baker, George Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dickens. The theoretical framework is elaborated often chapters, whereas a variety of counterfeits of or substitutes for really charitable interpretation are thought of within the interludes, which gradually shut in on that infrequent creature, the loving reader. via this doubled approach to research, Jacobs attempts to teach how tricky it really is to learn charitably—even should still one desire to, which, in fact, few people do. And accurately as the prospect of studying in this type of demeanour is so offputting, one of many covert pursuits of the publication is to make it appear either extra believable and extra beautiful.
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Additional resources for A Theology of Reading: The Hermeneutics of Love
Vject, which inevitably and rightly calls Feuerbach to mind. Marian Evans's critique of Dr. Culnlning is conducted on purely Feuerbachian principles, and the closing paragraphs of her essay are almost a prkcis of T h e Es~se~zcr of'Christinlziry: 'The idea of God is realty moral in its influence-it realty cherishes aft that is best and ltrvcliest in man-only when God is contemplated as synpathiajng with the pure elements of human fceling, as possessing infinitely ali those attril~uteswhich we recognize to be ~noralin huxnaniv, .
Davidson believes that we come to a collversatio~l(reading being one form of conversation) with the assumption that our interlc~cutorspeaks sensibly and intelligibly. Sometilnes we end by abandoning that assumpdon-perhaps the person with whom we are talking turns out to be mad-but we do so with the greatest reluctance and only after striving to find some way to reconcile our interlocutor's words with what we take to be intelligible utterance. Only when our hermeneutical resourcefulness is exhausteci do we, regretfully, accept unintelligibility.
Mg-no,as the pilgrim and his p i d e Virgil-a choice of guide Augustine would doubtless disapprove of-visit the eighth circle of Hell, the tenth bolgia ("ditch" or "pouch") of that circle, they meet the Falsifiers. Amc~ngthese sinners are a counterfeiter named Master Adam and a falsifier oI: words, the infamous Greek &m, who tricked the Trojans into allowing the fatal wooden horse into their city. Dante watches as Master Adam and Sinon fall into a bitter exchange of vimperative insult. For thirty lines of verse they snarl at one another, Dante (and we the readers) attending all the time.
A Theology of Reading: The Hermeneutics of Love by Alan Jacobs