Moderator: William Thornton
Gomes wrote:Literalism is dangerous for two reasons. First it indulges the reader in the fanciful notion that by virtue of natural intelligence the text is apprehensible and therefore sensible. Despite genuflections to the notion of original or authorial intent, meaning is determined by what the reader takes out of the text, and this meaning the reader attributes to the author. Thus, what the reader thinks is there becomes not merely the reader's opinion, but the will of God, with all the moral consequences and authority that that implies...The second danger is the power of private judgment may well obscure the meaning of the text by paying attention only to what it says....Allegories, typologies, and symbolic interpretations are to be avoided in favor of the pure and uncorrupted word. Literalism does not want the text held hostage to these devices, but literalism itself is hostage to the 18th century illusion that truth and meaning are the same thing, and that they are fixed and discernible by the application of the faculties of reason and common sense.
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