Sunday, March 19, 2006

interpretation: hard, but not really that hard

there is some stuff here that gives ways of limiting the number of meanings you can get out of one book


Pete said...

Without having looked at any of these links I'd like to suggest that they are all full of bollocks. There are an infinite number of meanings that can be drawn out of any one book.

Try that suggestion on for size or stick it in your pipe and smoke it or whatever it is that you crazy kids do these days!

michael said...

Since the last shall be first, we shall go in that order.
The discussion on the meaning of faith begins by equating faith with proof. This is a bad move for the simple reason that the bible cannot produce a proof of God's existence from the evidence at hand, and neither can anyone else. A proof is not one end among many that can be reached from the evidence but rather the only result possible. Since this is not the case from the evidence it cannot be called proof. And if having faith is the same as having proof then on this view anyone who 'has faith' is mistaken.

The following clause of likening faithfulness to loyalty ignores the new covenant by maintaining the laws of the old testament. "But understand instead "faith" as loyalty and "unbelief" as disobedience." If these are supposed to be opposites it follows that faith is obedience.

A side point on society having lost its sense of history: the christian view is entirely historically based but the type of history referred to here is considered irrelevant.

Defining faith as trust seems much closer to the point, but note that it loses all surety except that given by confidence.
""Faith" is believing what you know to be true and trustworthy": then there is no difference between faith and knowledge, thus one should subject knowledge of god to the same rigours as knowledge of anything else. This is what the argument is saying, but it assumes we have such convincing evidence, which we don't

The first Kierkegaard section is from Philosophical Fragments, and the idea that a perfectly trance dent god could have an historical point of departure. It then delves into a discussion of evidence through which we can know that Jesus is the son of god, via a discussion on why the immediate disciple can have no more knowledge than the mediate disciple, thus showing that Jesus himself gave no evidence that he was the son of god and that for both the contemporary and non-contemporary disciple a leap is required in order to 'know'. the discussion on the paradox is simply a discussion of identity, and it seems, even ion the 'fixing' light given by the essay, that there is not an identity, so the paradox, even if it is denied as a paradox, stands as pertinent to the discussion.

The discussion of Abraham reduces the story to such an extent that if this were the correct reading of the passage he would certainly never have been considered a patriarch of the church, for it reduces the act of going to kill his son to a sham act, and if god is to be convinced by a sham act, well then I must concluded that god himself is as much a sham.

So I find no good arguments in this essay.

michael said...

I'm not going through them all; the essay on harmony is trying to use evidence, and this is just absurd. It is a bunch of stories, placed together because they are bound by a common theme. that there are different versions means that there are different perspectives. The Catholics introduced the filioque clause, which the Orthodox claimed was heretical purely becauuse it reduced the number of interpretations of the doctrine of the trinity. If you want literal truth go somewhere else because the bible is not going to give it. If you want help finding meaning and comfort in your life then the church is often a good polace to start. But these essays are not written by people who know their subject thoroughly, and as such put forward poor arguments. To give such cut-down views fo Kierkegaard is but one example. So I'm going to agree with Pete's assumption that these essays are "all full of bollocks".