Introduction: New Horizons
- Existential: Bultmann
- Ontological: Gadamar
- metacritical evaluation of theoretical criteria and pragmatic operations.
- socio-critical: social interests
- back to traditional:
- Transforming Texts: Preliminary Observations
1 The Capacity of Texts to Transform Readers
- Speech-act theory
- horizon of expectation: ¡§de-habitualize¡¨ the readers¡¦ mind-set (H. R. Jauss)
2 The Capacity of Readers and Texts to Transform Texts: Different Notions of
Readers transform texts
a) ignorance, blindness, or misunderstanding.
- readers consciously or self-deceptively change texts.
- texts are distant from the reader¡¦s assumptions and expectations
- habituated patterns of individual or corporate familiarity rob text¡¦s ¡§other¡¨.
Texts transform texts
- texts are placed in new contexts, or re-contextulized in new situations
or in developing traditions.
- changes of ¡§meaning¡¨, or transformations of function, role, or significance.
- distinction between levels and successive contexts determine changes of
meaning rather than changes of significance.
- change in meaning which depends on change of a document¡¦s context or the
restoration of a valid interpretation in the light of the author¡¦s own intention?
3 Situational and Horizonal Factors in Transform Texts
- Inter-textual factors: intertextuality has 3 meanings, ¡§pre-understanding¡¨(J.
Kristeva), and self-referring or intralinguistic relations between texts(M.
Riffaterre), and more than allusions suggested by one text to another(a technical
term in post-structualist theories of signs; e.g. O.T. texts re-interpret
other O.T. texts.) The term inter-textuality denotes this transposition of
(or several) sign-system(s) into another; but since the term has often been
unhistorical in the broad sense of ¡¥study of sources¡¦ we prefer the term transposition.
(Julia Kristeva says, in p.42).
- Situational or temporally contingent: texts presuppose socio-historical
conditions (e.g. 1 Kings 21:1-29).
- Horzional: of the reader and texts. (more than ¡§pre-understanding¡¨ and not
presupposition.) It has a practical, behavioural, and pre-conceptual nature.
(i.e. pre-intentional background which is a network of revisable expectations
and assumptions which a reader brings to the text, together with the shared
patterns of behaviour and belief with reference to which process of interpretation
and understanding become operative. In p. 46).
4 Factors Arising from Semiotics, Theories of Hermeneutics, and Theories of
- Semiotic: Semiotic theory assume texts constitute systems of meaning which
are quasi-independent of the human subject who produced the text.
- Hermeneutical factors: the disagreements about the message and meaing of
given texts are from prior disagreements about the goal of interpretation.
- Relating to theories of textuality: the nature of the texts affects the
goal of interpretation. Some possible and diversified approaches:
- the expression of the experience and thought of an author (Betti);
- an autonomous world of meaning, to which its author and situation relate
only in the most minimal way (New Criticism of 1940s - 1950s).à
literary study > historic
- invitations to readers to contribute to or ¡§complete¡¨ textual meaning.
(reader-response theory) à readers' community
open-ended processes, which set going an infinite chain of significations rather
than conveying some specific ¡§content¡¨ which is bounded by closure (post-modernist).
à continual re-interpretation.
II WHAT IS A TEXT? SHIFTING PARADIGMS OF TEXTUALITY
1 Are Authors Part of Texts? Introductory Issues
literature (with a beginning & closure) à
extra-linguistic or quasi-klinguistic signs ("text" metaphorically) (smallest
2 Are Situations or Readers Part of Texts?
3 Theological Claims about the Givenness and Acutalization of Biblical Texts
4 Further Theological Issues: Disembodied Texts or Communicative Address?
III FROM SEMIOTICS TO DECONSTRUCTION AND POST-MODERNIST THEORIES OF TEXTUALITY
1 Code in Semiotic Theory: The Nature of Semiotic Theory
2 Need Semiotics Lead to Deconstructionism? Different Understandings of the
Implications of Semiotic Theory
3 Roland Barthes: From Hermeneutics through Semiotics to Intralinguistic World,
and to Text as Play
4 difficulties and Questions: the Inter-Mixture of Semiotics and World-View
5 Jacques Derrida: an Endless Series of Signs under Erasure
6 postmodernist and Deconstructionist Approaches in Biblical Interpretation
7 Further Philosophical Evaluations and Critiques of Deconstructionism, Some
in Dialogue with Wittgenstein