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Introduction: New Horizons


  1. Romanticist:
  2. Existential: Bultmann
  3. Ontological: Gadamar
  4. Post-Gadamar
  1. metacritical evaluation of theoretical criteria and pragmatic operations.
  2. socio-critical: social interests
  3. socio-pragmatic:
  4. back to traditional:
  1. Transforming Texts: Preliminary Observations

1 The Capacity of Texts to Transform Readers

  1. Speech-act theory
  2. narrative-world:
  3. inter-personal:
  4. 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 Itertextuality.

Readers transform texts
a) ignorance, blindness, or misunderstanding.

  1. readers consciously or self-deceptively change texts.
  2. texts are distant from the reader¡¦s assumptions and expectations and unfamiliar.
  3. habituated patterns of individual or corporate familiarity rob text¡¦s ¡§other¡¨.

Texts transform texts

  1. texts are placed in new contexts, or re-contextulized in new situations or in developing traditions.
  2. changes of ¡§meaning¡¨, or transformations of function, role, or significance.
  3. distinction between levels and successive contexts determine changes of meaning rather than changes of significance.
  4. 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

  1. 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).
  2. Situational or temporally contingent: texts presuppose socio-historical conditions (e.g. 1 Kings 21:1-29).
  3. 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 Textuality

  1. Semiotic: Semiotic theory assume texts constitute systems of meaning which are quasi-independent of the human subject who produced the text.
  2. Hermeneutical factors: the disagreements about the message and meaing of given texts are from prior disagreements about the goal of interpretation.
  3. Relating to theories of textuality: the nature of the texts affects the goal of interpretation. Some possible and diversified approaches:
    1. the expression of the experience and thought of an author (Betti);
    2. 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
    3. invitations to readers to contribute to or ¡§complete¡¨ textual meaning. (reader-response theory) à readers' community > author

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.


1 Are Authors Part of Texts? Introductory Issues

literature (with a beginning & closure) à extra-linguistic or quasi-klinguistic signs ("text" metaphorically) (smallest unit: utterance-units)

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?


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