Vanity prompts me to note with appreciation that David has a generous review of Faithful Interpretation up at his site. Of course, I tend to think the best of any favorably-disposed reviewer, but I take particular satisfaction that David has such an encouraging response to my arguments: he’s a sophisticated reader of philosophy, one who subjects “postmodern” theory to critical scrutiny (our first exchange of links — the response he cites was emailed — involved his having criticized Foucault), without any predisposition to favor Christian theological claims. He’s a tough reader, and (though we’re friends) I trust him to be an honest reader, and impressing him delights me no end.
This makes the second positive response — Jamie Smith offered appreciative remarks on the book and on my work in general over at the church and postmodern culture site. As I appreciate David’s review from outside the official target audience, so I appreciate Jamie’s response from squarely within my expected readership — he describes my work just as I might hope a “church reader” would: “[AKMA] winsomely argues that ‘postmodern’ interpretation will be faithful, Catholic interpretation.” Jamie’s characterization of my proposal as “Catholic” sounds odd next to David’s suggestion that “you don’t have to be Christian to appreciate the care with which AKMA approaches his topic,” but my hope was that by describing interpretation carefully and respectfully, I might arrive at an account that encompasses variety in interpretation while at the same time advancing criteria for assenting to (or dissenting from) particular proposals. To that extent, the distinct comments from Jamie and David suggest that I succeeded, at least in addressing them.
Thank you very much, David and James! When the negative reviews come, I will revisit your pages, often.