Reading and rendering
sympathy inescapably inflects understanding, and someone who withholds full sympathy (for whatever reasons, I’m not judging the reasons in question) holds back from the opportunity of fuller apprehension. AKMA
I would suggest that what you are missing is the unique status of the biblical writings precisely as Scripture. . . . in fact, the Bible is simply a collection of occasional writings written over a period of a thousand years, pulled together as a collection by a religious community called the Christian Church. And this community insists that this collection of writings be regarded as one book authored by the Creator of the universe, i.e, as Scripture.
. . .
The answer is patent: the community that collected and canonized these writings must provide the rules for the book's proper interpretation. Hence my claim, which is an uncontroversial claim for catholic Christians, that the Bible can only be properly understood within the Church, by the Church. The Bible can be read in any number of different ways; but if one wants to read the book as Scripture, then one needs to learn from the Church how to do so.
I think I understand "A" - the clarification of AKMA's to an earlier post in which he at least in part addressed my questions here.
The comments under "P" (who goes by Pontificator - I think this was his site - they are found in full here) raise way more questions than they resolve. To proclaim that 1000 years of work by a people that carefully culled, meditated, commented, remembered and revised its tradition was in fact "pulled together" by an entirely other community, Christians, is to forget - to annul -- any other basis for the writing and reading of these works than the one which Pontificator happens to espouse.
The pretty total obliteration of the other was what I was trying to look into in my earlier comment -- to read the Bible as Scripture apparently means to arrive at a species of intelligibility less by dint of careful and critical attention than by removing any alien features that might complicate what for all we know could be a preordained meaning imposed ab extra.
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I see AKMA's thought as pretty clearly opposed to Pontificator's. AKMA appears to say that absent total sympathy, openness, to what the text via all its myriad modes of signification points to, something will be missed, lost. There is no absolute either/or of intelligibility, yet some aspect of imaginative inspiration, some trace or inkling of what lies infinitely beyond the rarest overtones of the text, is in play.
Pontificator is saying a reader facing the Bible without the Pontificator's posse is consigned hopelessly to dealing with something "fundamentally unintelligible." This seems pretty either/or-ish.
The difference in tone and spirit between the two views seems huge: AKMA's mode of reading involves the intimacy of generous attention, combined with critical acumen. Pontificator, in line
with his Roman predecessors, will advise that anyone who ventures into the intimacy of that resonant chamber without the consensus fidelium is at risk of all manner of waylaying phantasmata of meaning.
Yet I wonder if somewhere along the hermeneutic moebius A and P don't converge, in answering what seems the next inevitable question:
Can the consensus fidelium be at odds with philology?
What is there about the sacred? What does it confer upon anything designated as such, and/or upon the designator of anything designated as such, that sets it apart from those who do not regard it as sacred?
Because the community agrees the text is sacred, it can, it is said, read it aright. But early on, before the canon was formed, the community doing the canonizing did not have a consensus telling it what were the possible significations among which it had to choose. What could their decisions vis a vis the canonical have been based on other than an attentive reading of the texts?
Does part of what "sacred" means have to do with putting something outside of rational intelligibility? Does it entail a kind of extraordinary rendition that binds, sacrifices, the sacred entity to inscrutable modes of capture, transport, protocol and control?
There seems little room for gradation when it comes to the sacred.