Saturday, April 09, 2011

Take and Read (multivalently)

Roland Barthes may have once declared that “the text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the message of an Author-God) but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash” (p. 148).  But in contemporary scholarship, Harvard's Jeffrey Hamburger counters that “medieval exegetes would be sorely perplexed at the notion that the Scriptures they treated could ever be limited to a single, literal meaning." (pp. 3-4). Indeed, for Augustine, "[N]o one ought to suppose… that we should study only the historical truth, apart from any allegorical meanings; or, on the contrary, that they are only allegories, and that there were no such facts at all..." (Civita Dei, XV:27). No one, I suppose, except for Roland Barthes.