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Re: [John_Lit] The Nature of Allusions and Illusions

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... And the point I was making is that you are begging the question when you say that Brown s judgment about the returns of structuralism is something that was
    Message 1 of 35 , Feb 28, 2004
      SemioticSymphony@... wrote:

      > In a message dated 2/28/2004 10:25:45 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      > jgibson000@... writes:
      > Besides being a slur on the scholarly abilities of Ray Brown, isn't it
      > petitio principii
      > to state that Brown's judgment is a manifestation of prejudice?
      > Anyone who know me and my work knows that my admiration for Raymond Brown
      > runs very deep, and I am incapable of perpetrating a slur on the greatest
      > American Scripture scholar, and one of the giants in the field the world over. The
      > small point I was making was that Brown is occasionally ungenerous to some
      > hermeneutics. The larger point is the resistance to some kinds of hermeutics in
      > this forum.

      And the point I was making is that you are begging the question when you say that
      Brown's judgment about the returns of structuralism is something that was made out of
      prejudice and not an honest and objective assessment.

      > You wrote:
      > "the same verdict has been rendered against structuralist approaches by
      > others who
      > are not members of the NT guild and who do not necessarily work with the same
      > approach to
      > ancient texts that Brown does, isn't it possible -- if not more likely --
      > that what Brown
      > says is actually a sober assessment of the facts?"
      > I quite agree that a naive structuralism is dated. But I find value in
      > Laurentin's work, even if it is a bit jargonish.When someone of Brown's stature is
      > hard on a proponent of a certain hermeneutic, it tends to validate less
      > informed opinions; andthis in turn is likely to prejudice others toward related
      > approaches.

      How does what others do with an informed opinion invalidate the truth of that opinion?

      > I disagree with Brown on his occasional frustration with some methods and
      > his less than generous assessments of some aspects of the postmodern movement in
      > biblical criticism.

      Again, this begs the question of whether his assessment have been "less than generous".
      And even if they were, that still has nothing to do with whether the judgments were made
      out of bias, let alone whether they were invalid..

      > But this discussion should not deteriorate into a
      > diatribe about Raymond Brown, especially since I recently championed his approach at
      > great personal expense in a forum where Brown's approach is understood to
      > scandalize the faithful. I offered the example to demonstrate that even a scholar
      > of Brown's stature has prejudices that are beyond "a sober assessment of the
      > facts."

      This can only be a such a demonstration if it can be shown that the judgment **was**
      made from bias and that the judgment is untrue.

      > Can we not leave it at that and get on with the real issue of why
      > postmodern approaches seems so unpalatable to some in the "NT guild?"

      I thought we were doing that.

      But it appears that you've stacked the deck in such a way that "because they produce
      such few gains for so much effort expended is not a sufficient, let alone a rational and
      unbiased, reason for rejecting "postmodern" approaches.

      In any case, isn't "unpalatable" a bit prejudicial (not to mention inaccurate), as if
      the primary criteria that members of the NT guild use for judging the soundness of a
      methodology is something rooted in aesthetics?

      Jeffrey Gibson


      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

      1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
      Chicago, IL 60626

    • Joseph C Goodson
      Dear Johannine_Listers: Some short remarks here. While following the thread with much interest, I am now inclined to comment in support of Joe C. s proposed
      Message 35 of 35 , Feb 28, 2004
        Dear Johannine_Listers:

        Some short remarks here.

        While following the thread with much interest, I am now inclined to comment
        in support of Joe C.'s proposed hermeneutic/s. I think that a central
        difficulty that is keeping many of this list from reading as Joe does -- or
        as Ricoeur, Fish, or Lacan might -- is the radical shifting of
        methodological commitments and what those entail with regard to the limits
        of the reader, text and meaning. The limits of reader-response criticism,
        its methodologies, frameworks and aporias, are not those of
        historical-criticism. Why should reader-response criticism answer to the
        methods of an alien discourse? Why should one method define the illuminating
        limits of another?

        Secondly, and I will make this very brief, I might suggest that Derrida's
        _Signature, Event, Context_, which is available online, might offer some
        tough gristle for thought. While the author's intentions form a context for
        the sign systems within historical-critical approach, postmodern approaches
        reveal the synchronous, trans-historical signifier/sign systems. I don't
        think that the historical critical method can say that the Cana story
        *cannot* be read this way, because it cannot move outside of its own
        co-ordinates without changing its identity. The historical approach seeks to
        study texts on the basis of documents -- a linear time table or record or
        the reconstructed _Sitz em Leben_. The postmodern approach does not need
        these documents nor need to see the text as *representing* the author's
        intentions, or a first century community, or whatnot. Why? Because the
        essence and nature of the signifier is that it is meant to be understood in
        the absence of its original context. It CAN be understood, more or less, in
        reference (representing) the matrix of its origin, but it NEED NOT BE, nor
        can historical criticism limit the text in this way. Historical criticism
        offers us a certain context for the signifier to mean, but the signifier --
        because of its nature as a mark -- does not become saturated by history. And
        thank God! Theology and revelation thrives on this ability for the signifer
        to become free from history and to insist throughout diachrony. If this were
        not the case, the scriptures would not be able to be read OUTSIDE of the
        historical critical method. As readers of the scriptures, we know this is
        most emphatically not the case. Texts mean independently of history and
        independently of authorial intention. In fact, the text can *only* come to
        mean anything historically because it *first* means something to us in our
        synchronous linguistic context. The text has an internal horizon which is
        the condition for the possibility of meaning itself. Only then can the text
        come to be contextualized as a symbol or sign of an author's intent.

        With regard to the Cana story, postmodern readings cannot "prove" anything
        to historical criticism because, as Badiou suggests, such an event is
        radically outside the existing co-ordinates of historical criticism.

        As I write this I have just read an incoming email from Mike Grondin in
        which he responds to Joe C:

        Joe C wrote: << Why do you dismiss the phenomenon of the lapsus linguae?>>

        Mike Grondin responded: <<I don't. You misread my intent. What happened was
        precisely the
        sort of thing I mentioned - a failure on my part to adequately exclude
        unintended meanings (or, putting it differently, to exclude
        reader-inferences such as the one you performed).>>

        Without knowing it, you have deconstructed your own position. The phenomenon
        you have witnessed too is *exactly* what Joe is talking about: your message
        means perfectly well without your intentions. Now, in this exchange, and for
        the sake of simplicity, you have recontextualized your remarks. But
        certainly Joe was not in your head when he was reading them, and I agree
        that your remarks do mean what he suggests. You say "that is not what *I*
        meant," but it is what the *text* is saying. In the realm of postmodernity
        intention -- especially when reading a text to see what is going on inside
        the text and what concepts can be found within it -- is simply not
        necessary. Your message means sans your intentions. Welcome to the nature of
        the signifier.


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