… Matters of Interpretation
Mostly I post notes, questions, and thoughts on what I read, from where I read it, in case someone else might find them useful, or interesting.
These normally include notes and questions for the weekly scripture text being studied by the adult class that meets at the “not-that-early hour of 9:00 a.m.” on Sundays at the Corydon Presbyterian Church in Corydon, Indiana.
[When we are on the other side of “social distancing” and can resume in-person gatherings,] please join us for class if you’re in the area! Followed by worship. Followed by coffee and snacks. You’ll be very welcome.
Other matters surface occasionally.
… the hermeneutrix
I’m HAT (Heather Anne Thiessen, M.Div., Ph.D.), a happily married, Bible-reading, Presbyterian Church Sunday School teaching and choir singing, small fuel efficient car driving, still pretty much 2nd wave feminist and generally out white lesbian Hoosier mom. (That’s too Christian for some, not Christian enough for others.) From time to time I teach religious studies to undergraduates at a small liberal arts college in Louisville, Kentucky. Reading is my life.
…Location. Location. Location.
Everybody knows that saying about the first and second and third most important things in real estate being location, location, and location. [And if you were just now hearing that for the first time, Congratulations on being one of the lucky 10,000!]
At some point in the life history of this blog, it occurred to me that “Location. Location. Location.” means roughly the same thing as something I, and other people, say a lot about exegesis and hermeneutics: “Context is everything!”
What’s the most important thing in determining the meaning of a text?
Location … Where it is in a larger text, its specific literary context, its place in the plot if this is a text with a plot, its place in the structure of the text, since all texts have structure, and beyond that the specific linguistic context that establishes the literal and metaphorical range of possibililties of these words, and so on.
Location … Its place in the historical development of the text, the concrete social and political and economic and cultural context in which it was first composed, read, edited, re-read, canonized, interpreted, and so on.
Location … Your place historically as a reader and interpreter, where you stand in the long line of interpreters, where you stand in relation to this text and to other similar texts and to other readers of this text and to personal or collective experiences more generally that have given you particular abilities to perceive this or that meaning or nuance or implication in this text and have created particular blind spots when it comes to this text and so on.
Location. Location. Location. In fact, it may be location all the way down …
Because context really is everything.
Matters of Interpretation is the successor to an earlier blog, Utopian Discourse. Because the internet is forever, its map still contains that little patch of thought about utopia. Like so much other utopian discourse, it takes place in the present as memory.