Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Notes on Meaning -- Where is it?

a. Meaning and The Author
.- pg. 570, What Gunn doesn’t like about Sternberg, “At base he seems to be saying that the narrative offers a determinable meaning, determinable through the practice of sophisticated reading habits… there is security to be found with the reliable narrator who is aligned with God, and offers the voice of divine authority (God, it almost seems is author, narrator, and main character)…, pg. 571, “…the reliability of the biblical narrator,” pg. 573, “The issue of reliability is bound up with discriminations concerning point of view.”
- pg. 572, “When Samuel-Kings is read alongside Chronicles, where is the reliable narrator? Where for that matter is the reliable narrator of the four gospels?... we can only maintain an unsullied notion of a reliable narrator by maintaining the composition segmentation of the Bible – and postulating whole hosts of narrator who have nothing to do with each other…. reading biblical narrative in terms of its final form really is a more radical proposition than perhaps is realized…”
*So, his historical-critical model allows him to assail the concept of “reliable narrator.” He could have assailed this on the grounds of deconstruction.

b. Meaning and The Reader
-Gunn on the reader, “There is no objective, ideologically sterile reader to appropriate an ideological prescription embedded in the text.”
i.e., the read is not unbiased, and thus cannot retrieve real meaning from this text. Everything he reads, he reads in a vacuum of meaning – like having a conversation w/ himself, with the text only a ‘prompt’ – this is deconstructionism applied to the reader.
Remember these words of Lewis:
Freudianism and Marxism are as much systems of thought as Christian theology. [...] The Freudian and the Marxian are in the same boat with all the rest of us, and cannot criticize us from outside. They have sawn off the branch they were sitting on. If, on the other hand, they say the taint need not invalidate their thinking, then neither need it invalidate ours. In which case they have saved their own  ranch, but also saved ours along with it  (God in the Dock, Bulverism 272).
*Also, we are not concerned with “objective, ideologically sterile knowledge,” – this was the program of modernism not of Christianity – but with true knowledge. You don’t have to know everything to have sufficient knowledge, and you don’t have to be totally objective (i.e. God) to have true knowledge. Thus, we would differ on how one comes to have knowledge, and what true knowledge is. We reject this system of “absolute knowledge” – we, in other words, reject sheer rationalism.

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