Re: [revelation-list] Steve Moyise's AUSS article
- 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.
>>> "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  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
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:
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.
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, . . .
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