The Fall of Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic

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InterVarsity Press, 2000 - Philosophy - 228 pages
2 Reviews
Many philosophers of the past century have focused on the problem of hermeneutics. Theologians have shared this concern because of their interest in interpreting biblical texts. As postmodern critics have challenged the possibility of understanding any texts, the issue of how to respond has become acute.

Among myriad approaches to hermeneutics, both secular and Christian theorists have often assumed the same thing: that the need for interpretation is a lamentable, scandalous, even fallen affair. In an ideal world there would be no need for interpretation, since communication would be immediate, instantaneous and errorless.

James K. A. Smith, in this provocative book, cogently surveys contemporary hermeneutical discussion, identifying three traditions and how they understand interpretation. Traditional evangelicals Rex Koivisto and Richard Lints represent a present immediacy model. Wolfhart Pannenberg, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jargen Habermas represent an eschatological immediacy model. And Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida represent a violent mediation model.

Questioning the foundational assumption that these secular and religious theories share, Smith deftly draws on and reworks Augustine's biblical understanding of the goodness of creation to propose a creational-pneumatic model of hermeneutics. In his words, such a hermeneutic "would link (Augustine's) insights on the temporality of human be-ing and language with his affirmation of the fundamental goodness creation: the result is an understanding of the status of interpretation as a 'creational task, ' a task which is constitutive of fortitude and thus not a 'labor' to be escaped or overcome. Such an 'interpretation ofinterpretation' revalues embodiment and ultimately ends in a ethical respect for difference as the gift of a creating God who loves difference and loves differently".

  

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Review: The Fall of the Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic

User Review  - Monte Lee - Goodreads

Smith, James KA The Fall of Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic, 2012). When in His likeness, God created humankind, He ... Read full review

Review: The Fall of the Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic

User Review  - Jacob Aitken - Goodreads

Smith pleads for an affirmation of finitude and temporality in understanding interpretation, and the need to return to both. Smith highlights his claim against the common evangelical desire to "get to ... Read full review

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Contents

Preface
9
Interpretation fie the Pall
17
On the Categories Creation and Fall
25
In the Beginning
32
Koivisto
41
Lints
49
On InterpretationTranslation
56
Pannenberg
63
The Fallenness of the Everyday
94
Heideggers Disclaimers
104
Reading the New Testament Otherwise Than Heidegger
111
Edcnic Violence
115
Toward a Creational Hermeneutic
133
Tbward a Creational Hermeneutic
146
The Ethics of Interpretation
175
Indexes
219

A Hermeneutics of Fallenness
87

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About the author (2000)

James K. A. Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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