Friday, July 10, 2015

Hermeneutics: Here Comes Everybody

In his Conflict of Interpretations, Paul Ricoeur notes that the Tradition lives by the grace of interpretation. That understanding certainly has standing in theology, biblical hermeneutics and the handing down of the Church's self-understanding, its gift, to subsequent generations of receivers and hearers of the word. I place a good deal of credence in the relationship Ricoeur sees between interpretation and tradition, and I like to think I have respected it in the pages of this blog. Recently, this blog has examined dogma in relation to scripture, and how the entire Catholic rule of faith plays out in its own terms.

Grace of interpretation. I rather like that phrase. Grace has the uncanny and amazing ability to give sight to the blind. Or at least to permit a vision, a gaze upon events. All hermeneutics are heuristic; discovery itself drives interpretation to know something. Caputo's increasingly radical hermeneutics open upon the discovery of the self-disclosing 'call.' Marion's reduction to givenness opens upon the horizon where the locus of the self grounds its emergence and subjectivity. Levinas' 'face' calls subjectivity into otherwise than being, an ethics that obligates and orients a self to the other. Keller's apophatic entanglements resurrect Cusan and Augustinian docta ignorantia into an ever-expanding space of unsaying and unknowing where events can be called into existence.

Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker long ago heard it on the Liffey. Joyce is Everybody's bag of tricks, and the Wake sets up an attitude to what hermeneutics can do or be. It's no accident that in Glas Derrida begins mid-sentence and ends that way. Even his visuals capture something of the Wake's own pagination. Joyce and Derrida, whose situation mid-20th century make them the pranksters of Triskelion, move critics by their sheer acts of the will upon a shifting critical grid.

Peter Rollins has picked up a gauntlet of tradition in his response to Caputo's [non]critique of his work. Rollins is reconfiguring his concept of 'lack' and seems to conclude that lack, too, is all Vorstellung. Recently, both here and on Pete's blog I located lack in Marion's place of the self, his pure call, and Caputo's insistence motif. He seems to have liked that idea. 

Regardless of the tradition in question, a productive hermeneutics will always look to the flux of time between them. Readings are always already other readings, and the something they discover is beyond Vorstellung, an in the zone of the self. What is self-understanding if it is not what's going on in the place of  the self?

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