By Stephen Prickett

Prickett charts the schism, opened on the finish of the oighteenth century, among biblical hermeneutics and literary feedback. This break up has profound implications for either modern biblical translation and literary idea. the writer investigates the serious typical that spiritual language is largely poetic, and lines the advance of that view within the writings of Dennis and Vico, Herder and Eichhorn, Ccoleridge and Arnold, Wordsworth and Hopkins, and Austin Farrer and Paul Ricouer. this idea maintains to supply a terminology for discussing narrative that may now not be interpreted actually or allegorically, yet has additionally led a few critics to plan insufficient translation theories and conceptions of metaphor.

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Wimsatt's seminal essay on 'The Intentional Fallacy'69 we have learned to be wary of the idea that knowledge of an author's 'intention' - even were this possible in a world where we create fictions in our lives as well as in books - would necessarily clarify what is going on in a particular work. A writer may well write, as we say, 'better than he knew'. 71 Are Gulliver's Travels merely an effective piece of early eighteenth-century political satire (as they were presumably 'intended') or are they universal literature?

What is perhaps, with hindsight, more significant is his confident Longinian assumption that the Pentateuch's sublimity makes it 'poetic' without it having to conform to the conventional structures of verse. This was the starting-point for Robert Lowth's epoch-making Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews. Delivered as the Oxford Poetry Lectures in 1741, they were first published in Latin in 1753, and were to achieve wide circulation with their English translation in 1787. As we shall see in the next chapter, they were to redefine the conception of Hebrew poetry; less obviously, but perhaps no less significantly in the long run, they were to redefine the notion of'poetry' itself.

Barthes's God, (that Great Author in the Sky) may seemingly have more in common with Blake's Urizen than Elijah's Yahweh, but He is still recognizably the originator of the 'Word', who brings meaning out of chaos. 28 Ways of reading the Bible From opposite poles, therefore, somewhat unexpectedly, Barthes and Newman join hands. The problem of hermeneutics is not one peculiar to theology - though the personal demands of religious belief may for some make the questions of certainty more problematic.

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