Item description for A Theology Of Reading: The Hermeneutics Of Love by Alan Jacobs...
If the whole of the Christian life is to be governed by the "law of love"--the twofold love of God and one's neighbor--what might it mean to "read" lovingly? That is the question that drives this unique book. Jacobs pursues this challenging task by alternating largely theoretical, theological chapters--drawing above all on Augustine and Mikhail Bakhtin--with interludes that investigate particular readers (some real, some fictional) in the act of reading. Among the authors considered are Shakespeare, Cervantes, Nabakov, Nicholson Baker, George Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dickens. The theoretical framework is elaborated in the main chapters, while various counterfeits of or substitutes for genuinely charitable interpretation are considered in the interludes, which progressively close in on that rare creature, the loving reader. Through this doubled method of investigation, Jacobs tries to show how difficult it is to read charitably--even should one wish to, which, of course, few of us do. And precisely because the prospect of reading in such a manner is so offputting, one of the covert goals of the book is to make it seem both more plausible and more attractive.
Citations And Professional Reviews A Theology Of Reading: The Hermeneutics Of Love by Alan Jacobs has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Books & Culture - 07/01/2002 page 35
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Studio: Westview Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.16" Width: 6" Height: 0.52" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Nov 28, 2001
Publisher Westview Press
ISBN 081336566X ISBN13 9780813365664
Availability 0 units.
More About Alan Jacobs
Alan Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University. He is the author of several books, including "The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction" (Oxford) and "Original Sin: A Cultural History" (HarperOne), and he has edited W. H. Auden's long poems "For the Time Being" and "The Age of Anxiety" (both Princeton).
Reviews - What do customers think about A Theology Of Reading: The Hermeneutics Of Love?
Simply Outstanding! May 7, 2006
This is a damn fine book! Dr. Jacobs writes from a vast reservoir of subject-knowledge--from Aristotelian ethics through Augustinian theology, Dickensian sentimentalism to Bakhtinian hermeneutics--and takes us into an extended meditation as to what truly charitable reading might be. Poets, philosophers, and novelists come into vital dialogue about the intersection of love, justice, and knowledge in creating meaning. He gradually draws near to the still center of the interpretive whirl whose axes are faith, hope, and charity.
Read this book. You'll find many fine examples of literary criticism done with loving attention to the particulars of the texts. You'll see the a fruitful convergence of Christian theology and literary criticism. Dr. Jacobs brings blessed clarity to Bakhtin's project. Most impressive is his relation of criticism in-the-large to still-broader contexts & Classical ideas. We enter an ongoing conversation across centuries about what constitutes "meaning" and how we can deal with that meaning lovingly.
words to live by May 3, 2004
I read this book one year ago, and I'm reviewing it because it has stayed with me---not the specifics (the book is a bit heavy going in places, as I recall), but the general admonition to be a loving reader. That instruction pops into my mind in odd times and places as I study literature and writing in a secular graduate program. If we are Christian scholars, our scholarship must have some uniquely Christian characteristic---what better characteristic than Christian charity to the author and community?
I heard a presentation by Dr. Jacobs the other weekend at a conference, but I had already been thinking about him, because I had recalled his book.
This book, then, has shaped me more than I thought it would. The more I learn about the academy, the discipline of scholarship, the skill of reading, the more I crave Christian theology to guide me through dangerous pitfalls of hatred, self-interest, and passionate error. A Christian scholar cannot afford to leave unexamined the issues this book raises and cannot afford to spurn the lifestyle this book proposes. Not many people I've found are asking these kinds of questions or giving these kinds of answers.