Reading and Difference

The fundamental condition of interpretive practice is difference. Thus, every heremenutic that aims at — or takes as its founding premise — a correctness or identity (in the sense of a an interpretation that attains conceptual homology with a given criterion, ordinarily ‘the intention of the author at the moment of inscription’) begins in the…

On Correctness

When I read papers or give presentations about hermeneutics, people always ask me, ‘If you’re right and there is no intrinsic “meaning” in texts about which to be right or wrong, are all interpretations equal? Aren’t some interpretations just plain wrong? I mean, you talk about The da Vinci Code all the time as an…

Resistant Musings

One of the conventional slogans that partially-informed readers parrot about postmodern thought and post-structuralism holds that it means ‘anything goes’, that it erases the distinction between right and wrong. But as a matter of demonstrable fact, specifically modern hermeneutics hasn’t advanced ‘correctness’ or general consensus on matters of interpretation over the past 250 years or…

Titling At Windmills

I’ve written before about my restlessness about naming my project. In that post, I describe my eventual contentment with the designation ‘differential hermeneutics’; it’s fair, it does the trick, and people already associate it with me. At one point I considered including in the monograph version an entire chapter of possible titles, with the explanation…

The Persistence of Modernity

I was thinking this morning about the phenomenon of people pushing back on ideas — not strictly ‘postmodern’ ideas, but ideas that have become generally accepted in the aftermath of the strong pressure postmodern thought exerted over several decades. (That last clause made me feel rather old.) Think of the idea that ‘objectivity’ isn’t a…

… A Thousand Steps Begins…

In the past few weeks, I’ve sent away three four pieces for consideration/publication. At such a pace, I’m sure that not every paragraph is well-formed; that’s the price for getting work off my desk in a summer overshadowed by the clouds from the deaths of Margaret’s dad and my mother. If something is accepted, I…

I’m All Right, Jacques

Since everyone knows that ‘postmodernism’ means ‘anything goes, nothing is true, everything is permitted’, the latest outbreak of unmitigated flagrant prevarication from the new inhabitant of the White House has engendered an unseasonable tsunami of the threadbare ‘see what happens when postmodernists blah blah blah’ fustian and twaddle. I thought — having lived through it…

Not Dead Yet

I had a small breakthrough in my thinking about my hermeneutical project yesterday morning before church, perhaps the most frustrating time for such an insight, since I absolutely had to be present at the beginning of the Blessings of Palms before the procession and Palm Sunday liturgy. I managed to scribble down what I think…