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Re: The Nature of Allusions and Illusions

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  • 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 1 of 35 , Feb 28, 2004
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      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.

      Regards,
      Joseph

      _________________________________________________________________
      Say �good-bye� to spam, viruses and pop-ups with MSN Premium -- free trial
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    • 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
      • 0 Attachment
        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.

        Regards,
        Joseph

        _________________________________________________________________
        Say �good-bye� to spam, viruses and pop-ups with MSN Premium -- free trial
        offer! http://click.atdmt.com/AVE/go/onm00200359ave/direct/01/
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