A HERMENEUTIC CRITIQUE OF STRUCTURALIST EXEGESIS, WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO LK 10.29-37
The proper model for biblical studies is both exegetical and hermeneutical, grounded in the sequential unfolding of explanation and interpretation. Karl Rahner's theology provides a convenient framework within which to integrate these different tasks. Rahner's description of the interrelationship between divine transcendence and categorical existence motivates a pattern for biblical theology from which to establish a model for biblical interpretation. This model selectively incorporates insights from the structuralist analytic, and from a phenomenology of language that presumes the discursive operations of narrative texts. Although structuralism and hermeneutics seem to be governed by conflicting presuppositions, they are in practice mutually complementary. Chapter I delineates the frame for this complementarity, summarizing the main principles of Rahner's theology of mystery. A correspondence exists between Rahner's mystagogy, and a bivalent program for biblical hermeneutics. Chapter II presents structuralist theory from historical (e.g., Saussure, Propp, Jakobson), philosophical (e.g., Barthes, Levi-Strauss) and conceptual (e.g., Bremond, Greimas, Todorov) perspectives. Chapter III implements this theory with specific reference to Lk 10.29-37, the Good Samaritan text. This practical application discloses both the benefits and limitations of structural analysis. Structuralism's failure to elucidate the text exhaustively indicates its need for a hermeneutic complement. Chapter IV examines categories from Paul Ricoeur's philosophy that pertain to a correlation between structuralism and hermeneutics. Ricoeur's theories of polyvalence, discourse and metaphor contribute to his model for hermeneutics. This model demands a text exegetical explanation and existential interpretation. Chapter V extends Ricoeur's basic categories by appealing to works by W. Iser (re the phenomenology of reading) and S. Wittig (re plurisignification); and it offers a hermeneutic review of Lk 10.29-37 based on the exegetical data of Chapter III. Structural analysis uncovers the syntagmatic incompletion of the text. Chapter V demonstrates how this incompletion operates as a heuristic device, to engage the reader in the act of interpretation. Thus, the syntagmatic incompletion uncovered by structural analysis becomes the means for the reader's hermeneutic self-discovery. Structural analysis explicates textual meaning, while existential interpretation implicates the reader in this meaning's significance.
SANDRA WACKMAN PERPICH,
"A HERMENEUTIC CRITIQUE OF STRUCTURALIST EXEGESIS, WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO LK 10.29-37"
(January 1, 1981).
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