I spent this afternoon with Juliet Dodds’s doctoral seminar on hermeneutics at Garrett, across the vast expanse of Sheridan Road. They had read two of my recent essays on hermeneutics (“Poaching on Zion” and “:This Is Not a Bible”) along with essays by a couple of less-distinguished French guys you never heard of. I showed them the presentation on Visual Hermeneutics, since it had gone over so well at McCormick earlier this fall, and then we launched into a vigorous discussion of meaning, textuality, communication, the Bible, history, and other topics. It was a blast — they were good readers of the essays, not uncritical but neither were they simply gainsaying (or affirming) my arguments. They were the sort of readers who convey to you that they paid attention and have worked with your premises carefully enough to advance the discussion (which is most of what I really want from writing anyway). The thought that a generation of students at McCormick and Garrett — and maybe other places as well! — may regard my essays as a constituent element in their hermeneutical outlook excites me no end.
As I was walking home from Garrett, I opened a letter that I knew to contain a polite rejection notice from a research institute to which I’d applied for my next year’s sabbatical residency. As a rejection letter, it was pretty confusing; it discusses the physical facilities at the research center, among other things. It took me some puzzling and staring to figure out that the reason it was so confusing was that it wasn’t a rejection letter at all, but an acceptance — so if I find funding, I can look forward to spending next year in a very propitious, rather prestigious theological study center!
Congrats on the acceptance. Thanks again for coming over to lecture. The students had a good time, Henry had a good time, I had a good time, and a good time was had by all.
AKMA, that is very Good News. May God help you find the dough to enjoy your time away. Fabulous.
Mazel tov! It couldn’t have happened to a more propitious and rather
— David W.