I will be presenting Saturday, 3:30 in Faber 114.
In preparation for my presentation, I have reviewed some Thiselton and engaged Grant Osborne at a cursory level. Considering the schedule of plenary speakers, I also figured it would be a quintessential academic faux pas to present a paper on hermeneutics without being familiar with professor Smith’s work on the subject.
As I will note in my preface to the paper, I am stunned by the amount of agreement I share with professor Smith’s conclusions. Not that I expected to disagree with him, but I honestly had not read more than a few pages of The Fall of Interpretation before writing that paper, and did not even consult it during my research. Yet my thesis reads, “This paper will assert that readers have an ethical responsibility in the hermeneutical process… The reader must love God in order to properly interpret any text.” Compare Smith, “…the question of limits on interpretation is an ethical rather than simply an epistemological matter.” (175) “In fact, [Augustine] continues by saying that so long as our interpretations build up this love of God and neighbor, the question of authorial intent is secondary.” (177) Finally he writes, “The ethics of interpretation, for Augustine, is a hermeneutics of love.” (178)
Clearly there are only three possible explanations:
A) Dr. Smith has a time machine that he used to read my paper eleven years before I wrote it.
B) Great minds think alike.
C) Having read Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism, and been taught philosophy by his friend Dr. J. Matt Bonzo, and been in countless debates with friends who have read The Fall of Interpretation, in addition to being casually familiar with some of Smith’s bibliography (esp. Augustine), I was subconsciously nudged in the same direction.