How the Virtues of an Interpreter Presuppose and Perfect Hermeneutics: The Case of Thomas Aquinas

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Eugene F. Rogers, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This essay enlists Thomas Aquinas to enrich a late twentieth-century retrieval of the literal reading of biblical narrative in the Christian tradition. It argues that the Summa theologiae can be read so that the sensus litteralis, far from promoting one predeterminate meaning for a text, promotes instead a certain ordered diversity of readings, and that the evaluation of readings belongs largely elsewhere than in hermeneutics. It opposes both those who seek such a single meaning and those who propose that anything goes. In short, it is the office of hermeneutics to promote an ordered diversity, of ethics to evaluate the results, and of providence to control the outcome. Or in other words, hermeneutics belongs to what Thomas calls craft, and right interpretation to grace, working both within the interpreter and without. If right interpretation involves grace (or, more personally, the Holy Spirit), then within the interpreter one may speak of virtue, and outside the interpreter one may speak of providence.

Additional Information

The Journal of Religion, 76(1), 64-81
Language: English
Date: 1996
Theology, Christianity, Thomas Aquinas, hermeneutics

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