A Theology of Reading: The Hermeneutics of Love
If the whole of the Christian life is to be governed by the law of love - 'the twofold love of God and one's neighbor - what might it mean to read lovingly? That is the question that drives this unique book. Jacobs pursues this challenging task by alternating largely theoretical, theological chapters - drawing above all on Augustine and Mikhail Bakhtin - with interludes that investigate particular readers (some real, some fictional) in the act of reading. Among the authors considered are Shakespeare, Cervantes, Nabakov, Nicholson Baker, George Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dickens. The theoretical framework is elaborated in the main chapters, while various counterfeits of or substitutes for genuinely charitable interpretation are considered in the interludes, which progressively close in on that rare creature, the loving reader. Through this doubled method of investigation, Jacobs tries to show how difficult it is to read charitably - even should one wish to, which, of course, few of us do. And precisely because the prospect of reading in such a manner is so off-putting, one of the covert goals of the book is to make it seem both more plausible and more attractive.
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Contexts and Obstacles
Love and Knowledge
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achieve Adam Adam Bede agape Alcibiades argument Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle's attention Auden Augustine Augustine's Augustinian Baker Bakhtin Beatrice Buffalo Bill C. S. Lewis calls Cartesian Chapter character charitable reading charity Christ Christian circus claim Claudio and Don context course criticism cultural Dickens Dickinson Dinah Dinah Morris discernment discourse distinction Don Pedro essay ethical eudaimonia friendship Gadamer genuine George Eliot gift Gradgrind hermeneutics Hero hope human I-for-myself interpretation Iris Murdoch Jesus justice kenosis Kierkegaard Kinbote kind knowledge language literary living magnanimous Martha Nussbaum means Milbank moral narrator neighbor Nietzsche Nietzsche's notion Nussbaum one's oneself pagan Pale Fire passage perhaps person philia pleasure poem political precisely question Quixotic quoted reader receive Rich Scripture sense Shade's simply Sleary Sleary's spirit Stanley Fish theology things thought tion tive Tompkins tradition truth understanding Updike Vereker virtue W. H. Auden words writes Zarathustra