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Re: [revelation-list] Steve Moyise's AUSS article

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  • Steve Moyise
    Dear John, Many thanks for your reply and the quotations from Augustine, which I shall ponder. I have indeed read your article but had to make do with 5 broad
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 16, 2002
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      Dear John,
      Many thanks for your reply and the quotations from Augustine, which I shall ponder. I have indeed read your article but had to make do with 5 broad brush strokes in the article. Though Goulder's lectionary reading hypothesis is ultimately unpersuasive, he does show numerous other minor correspondences that are interesting.

      On your second point, I would happily grant that intentionalism could be a "part" of ancient exegesis (particulary for the so-called Antiochene tradition) but would still wish to say (1)There is a large gulf between that and the post-enlightenment insistence that it is the "only" valid goal of interpretation; (2)The overwhelming belief in a divine intention for the biblical texts is inevitably at odds with enlightenment dogma.

      Nevertheless, I will try to avoid in future publications the suggestion that intentionalism was unheard of before the enlightenment.
      Steve


      >>> "John C. Poirier" <poirier@...> 07/16 3:36 pm >>>
      Dear Steve,

      I read the article with interest, and I am in basic agreement with your
      argument. Revelation does indeed *misappropriate* the scriptures.

      I would like to make two specific comments.

      First, about the note that Revelation*s allusions to Ezekiel all appear in the
      same order as in Ezekiel: I published an article three years ago (*The First
      Rider: A Response to Michael Bachmann,* *NTS* 45 [1999] 257-62), in which I
      argued that the four riders of Revelation 6 correspond to the four calamities
      of LXX Ezek 5:12. I would simply like to point out that this possible echo of
      Ezekiel follows your observation that Revelation uses Ezekiel in its original
      order.

      Second, I would like to take exception to something you say at the end of your
      article. Although I agree that Vanhoozer has twisted the concept of authorial
      intention beyond recognition, I must take exception to your claim that an
      intentionalist hermeneutic necessarily reflects *a post-Enlightenment
      perspective.* A lot of people seem to be claiming that intentionalist reading
      is a distinctively modern development (e.g., A. K. M. Adam, who incredibly
      claims that *reading-for-intention is a relatively recent, local development*
      [*Author*, in A. K. M. Adam [ed.], Handbook of Postmodern Biblical
      Interpretation [St. Louis: Chalice, 2000] 8-13, esp. 9). This is absolutely
      false. Not only is intentionalism the most fundamental aspect of
      communicational reading (which includes most ancient writings), but, in *On
      Christian Doctrine*, Augustine speaks quite clearly about the intentionalist
      basis of biblical hermeneutics:

      2.5.6
      Thus it happened that even the Sacred Scripture, by which so many
      maladies of the human will are cured, was set forth in one language,
      but so that it could be spread conveniently through all the world it
      was scattered far and wide in the various languages of translators
      that it might be known for the salvation of peoples who desired to
      find in it nothing more than the thoughts and desires of those who
      wrote it and through these the will of God, according to which we
      believe those writers spoke.

      2.13.19
      Since the meaning which many interpreters, according to their
      ability and judgment, seek to convey is not apparent unless we
      consult the language being translated, and since unless we consult
      the language being translated, and since many translators err from
      the sense of the original authors unless they are very learned, we
      must either seek a knowledge of those languages from which Scripture
      is translated into Latin or we must consult the translations of
      those who translate word for word, . . .

      3.27.38
      For he who examines the divine eloquence, desiring to discover the
      intention of the author through whom the Holy Spirit created the
      Scripture, whether he attains this end or finds another meaning in
      the words not contrary to right faith, is free from blame if he has
      evidence from some other place in the divine books. For the author
      himself may have seen the same meaning in the words we seek to
      understand. And certainly the Spirit of God, who worked through
      that author, undoubtedly foresaw that this meaning would occur to
      the reader or listener. (Trans. D. W. Robertson, Jr., [Library of
      Liberal Arts; Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958])

      I have been amazed at the success of the false revisionism of the
      postmodernists and postliberals (esp. Hans Frei), who have managed to get
      people to think that intentionalism was not a part of biblical hermeneutics
      until relatively recently. A close look at the history of hermeneutics shows
      that this is just isn*t so.

      Otherwise, thanks for writing a great article!


      John C. Poirier
      Middletown, Ohio
    • John C. Poirier
      Dear Steve, I read the article with interest, and I am in basic agreement with your argument. Revelation does indeed “misappropriate” the scriptures. I
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 16, 2002
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        Dear Steve,

        I read the article with interest, and I am in basic agreement with your argument.  Revelation does indeed “misappropriate” the scriptures.

        I would like to make two specific comments.

        First, about the note that Revelation’s allusions to Ezekiel all appear in the same order as in Ezekiel: I published an article three years ago (“The First Rider: A Response to Michael Bachmann,” *NTS* 45 [1999] 257-62), in which I argued that the four riders of Revelation 6 correspond to the four calamities of LXX Ezek 5:12.  I would simply like to point out that this possible echo of Ezekiel follows your observation that Revelation uses Ezekiel in its original order.

        Second, I would like to take exception to something you say at the end of your article.  Although I agree that Vanhoozer has twisted the concept of authorial intention beyond recognition, I must take exception to your claim that an intentionalist hermeneutic necessarily reflects “a post-Enlightenment perspective.”  A lot of people seem to be claiming that intentionalist reading is a distinctively modern development (e.g., A. K. M. Adam, who incredibly claims that “reading-for-intention is a relatively recent, local development” [“Author”, in A. K. M. Adam [ed.], Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation [St. Louis: Chalice, 2000] 8-13, esp. 9).  This is absolutely false.  Not only is intentionalism the most fundamental aspect of communicational reading (which includes most ancient writings), but, in *On Christian Doctrine*, Augustine speaks quite clearly about the intentionalist basis of biblical hermeneutics:

        2.5.6
        Thus it happened that even the Sacred Scripture, by which so many maladies of the human will are cured, was set forth in one language, but so that it could be spread conveniently through all the world it was scattered far and wide in the various languages of translators that it might be known for the salvation of peoples who desired to find in it nothing more than the thoughts and desires of those who wrote it and through these the will of God, according to which we believe those writers spoke.

        2.13.19
        Since the meaning which many interpreters, according to their ability and judgment, seek to convey is not apparent unless we consult the language being translated, and since unless we consult the language being translated, and since many translators err from the sense of the original authors unless they are very learned, we must either seek a knowledge of those languages from which Scripture is translated into Latin or we must consult the translations of those who translate word for word, . . .

        3.27.38
        For he who examines the divine eloquence, desiring to discover the intention of the author through whom the Holy Spirit created the Scripture, whether he attains this end or finds another meaning in the words not contrary to right faith, is free from blame if he has evidence from some other place in the divine books.  For the author himself may have seen the same meaning in the words we seek to understand.  And certainly the Spirit of God, who worked through that author, undoubtedly foresaw that this meaning would occur to the reader or listener. (Trans. D. W. Robertson, Jr., [Library of Liberal Arts; Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958])

        I have been amazed at the success of the false revisionism of the postmodernists and postliberals (esp. Hans Frei), who have managed to get people to think that intentionalism was not a part of biblical hermeneutics until relatively recently.  A close look at the history of hermeneutics shows that this is just isn’t so.

        Otherwise, thanks for writing a great article!
         

        John C. Poirier
        Middletown, Ohio
         
         

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