Varieties of Interpretation

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This collection reflects the state of Aquinas studies throughout North America, Britain, and Northern Europe, and provides an introduction to this diversity for a general and scholarly readership. Widely differing and often starkly contrasting and even contradictory interpretations of Aquinas are to be found here, which by their very differences invite readers to go deeper into the background from which each emerges and so to find for themselves a way to contemplate Aquinas.

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It is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the contemporary state of Thomistic studies and its history. By challenging and unsettling established assumptions the essayists help to free the work of one of the greatest educators in the ways of Christian wisdom to speak with fresh relevance. The result is an invaluable resource for teachers and students of theology alike.

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1. Simultaneous Interpreting

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22. Interpreting Scripture: Medieval Interpretations

Every time i read an essay or book organized around Aquinas, i am reminded that our dear friar left an ocean of thought and reflection that allows plenty of room for us to discover and swim. This collection of essays, edited by Fergus Kerr, is deliberately expansive in the scholarship and topics.

This means that some of the essays resonated, and other did not. The opening chapter by Kerr is a brief version of his larger work, After Aquinas , that establishes the tone for the following chapters. K Every time i read an essay or book organized around Aquinas, i am reminded that our dear friar left an ocean of thought and reflection that allows plenty of room for us to discover and swim.


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Kerr reminds us before we dive in to deep, that Aquinas is received through the context of certain traditions and theological cultures; so what follows is likely not to be of one mind. And he is right. As to the other content: I particularly found instructive the essays of Jordon, Parsons and Pesch.

Of course, I was particularly interested in questions of reception for Aquinas' thought, and my choices reflect that.

All in all, another healthy dose of the Angelic Doctor for those fully immersed in the ocean and for those wanting to get a little wet. Drawing on folklore for an understanding of variation, Bowden contends in her book that "equally well-prepared and sensitive readers may have divergent yet valid responses to three Canterbury pilgrims" p.

The two varieties of interpretation i have outlined

The cassette tape accompanyingthe book contains separate "cuts"the "Chaucer Tapes"-which constitute the aural evidence for Bowden's "varieties of textual interpretation. In some, readers compete with heavy traffic or tape buzz; in others, campus carillons toll the hour. For the most part, however, the cuts are intelligible, and the readings range from standard classroom recitation to intriguing dramatic performance. The cuts are given alphanumerical identification A2, B4 , Appendix A listing the readers who wish to be identified. On first hearing, four cuts-C2, 02, E4, and E5 the Prioress -elicited from Bowden the same observation, "Awwww," while others gave rise to "Thinks she's the cat's pajamas" or "Oh, lay offit, bitch" p.

Gradually, Bowden refines such initial impressions, producing, for example, this analysis of cut 05 A. Bowden relegates a third source of evidence, varying interpretations in contemporary criticism, to bibliographical notes. Rather than fulfill readers' culture-bound expectations of linear progression from beginning to end of the passage, I will not summarize what I already said about GP Bowden's subjectivist stance is disarming, but the methodology is not without problems.

For instance, Bowden attributes her preference for a reading of A that stresses the personal pronoun-"For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe"-to the circumstances of her own youth, an insight that precludes further analysis. What, one wonders Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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