Intuitions About Meaning

I’m working on what I want to say about the function of “literal” in interpretive/theological discourse; as part of that think I recalled that most people come to hermeneutics as they do to politics and religion and design, with partially-formed intuitions about what must be and what ought to be. I was wondering how to get at the relation of those under-theorized premises, when it occurred to me that the SongMeanings website provides some helpful illustrations.
If I teach a hermeneutics course again, I may direct students to a song each, with the assignment to examine the kinds of claim that commenters make about what the song “means,” and the sort of evidence they adduce for their claims. It may be easier to recognize some exaggerated errors in this open website than to catch them in play when arguing out a theological issue.

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