If the whole of the Christian life is to be governed by the “law of love”—the twofold love of God and one’s neighbor—what might it mean to read lovingly? That is the question that drives this unique book. Jacobs pursues this challenging task by alternating largely theoretical, theological chapters—drawing above all on Augustine and Mikhail Bakhtin—with interludes that inveIf the whole of the Christian life is to be governed by the “law of love”—the twofold love of God and one’s neighbor—what might it mean to read lovingly? That is the question that drives this unique book. Jacobs pursues this challenging task by alternating largely theoretical, theological chapters—drawing above all on Augustine and Mikhail Bakhtin—with interludes that investigate particular readers (some real, some fictional) in the act of reading. Among the authors considered are Shakespeare, Cervantes, Nabakov, Nicholson Baker, George Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dickens. The theoretical framework is elaborated in the main chapters, while various counterfeits of or substitutes for genuinely charitable interpretation are considered in the interludes, which progressively close in on that rare creature, the loving reader. Through this doubled method of investigation, Jacobs tries to show how difficult it is to read charitably—even should one wish to, which, of course, few of us do. And precisely because the prospect of reading in such a manner is so offputting, one of the covert goals of the book is to make it seem both more plausible and more attractive....
|Title||:||A Theology Of Reading: The Hermeneutics Of Love|
|Number of Pages||:||196 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
A Theology Of Reading: The Hermeneutics Of Love Reviews
Alan Jacobs' offering on Reading as charity is startlingly refreshing, historically and Theologically well rounded. He covers much ground, clearly laying out it's thesis alongside it's alternatives past and present before placing a number of authors beside one another; looked at through the lens of Christian Charity, in its proper yet infrequent form. A charitable reading is meant to be a deep quasi-personal conversation between writer and reader, he suggests, one which respects difference and loves justly without falling into the trappings of modern and postmodern notions of 'justice' or accepting the arbitrary pretence of community nor certain sarkic privileges. (Think A. Rich here). This is all good but would not be tenable without the sturdy legs of a solid ecclesiology; thankfully Jacobs provides that and makes one think and rethink about how we are viewing the world, which is often falling short of the Christian vision. In this respect he has a Church consciousness, which is depressingly rare- I've come across it in Florovsky, James KA Smith, Schmemann and a few others- and this is impressed through an understanding of the two great commands to Love God and others as yourself. His earthly Chrsitianity viz this central motif is my favourite point if the book. From this Theological vantage point he critiques everyone from Kierkegaard to feminist pretenders, focusing heavily on Friedrich Nietzche and affirming the good in Dickens, Milbank and beautifully Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Although not uncritically so.Alan is a fine scholar and balances his claims throughout, placing his suggestions in a play-full context, inviting us to try our hand at the Christian game. Under the terms of the book- as A Theology of Reading- I view it as an effective proclamation and charitably written with the medium performing at least some of his message.
A fantastic and worthwhile read. Jacobs is philosophical, religious, and a talented literary critic. His argument to read with caritas because as Christians our imperative is to do everything with love is sustained by his close attention to Bahktin, Nussbaum, Kierkegaard, Weil, and, of course, Aristotle. This book will send you back to your favorite authors with renewed affection, and to new works with attention and justice they are owed as your "neighbors".It is also an excellent read for teachers - short on practical application but rich in inspiration for teaching students to read appreciatively *first*.
Everything I read by Jacobs makes me more envious of his ability-- his thought, his talent at writing, his overwhelming knowledge. I probably should stop reading him to prevent more of the sin of covetousness on my part. But it's not going to happen right now. This book is going back on the pile for an immediate re-read...
Jacobs' notion of reading is that we ought to "love" our books as friends and interpret them charitably. Heavy focus on Michael Bahktin and Simone Veil. I really enjoyed this book and have used it for my thesis on charitable interpretation of images.
How can we begin to give books their due attention by reading charitably and lovingly? What might this look like? What does pagan literature have to offer to the Christian? These and many other questions are taken up by Jacobs in this deeply thought-provoking, scholarly, and largely theoretical work. He draws on many other sources, scholars, and a few classics to articulate his points throughout. I found these snippets interesting in and of themselves. One line stood out to me from the chapter of Justice: "Perhaps the most important point of all is that to read in this way is an act of charity to the works one reads and to oneself--an act of charity that includes and supersedes justice" (p. 142). What a peculiar but necessary subject!!