I wanted to see if Wright interacts at all with the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer so I flipped through the “Index of Modern Authors” in the back of The New Testament and the People of God. The only mention of Gadamer is in a footnote, but the page itself had Wright’s description of a “hermeneutic of love” which is what I’ll share this week:
“In love, at least in the idea of agape as we find it in some parts of the New Testament, the lover affirms the reality and the otherness of the beloved. Love does not seek to collapse the beloved into terms of itself: and, even though it may speak of losing itself in the beloved, such a less always turns out to be a true finding. In the familiar paradox, one becomes fully oneself to another. In the fact of love, in short, both parties are simultaneously affirmed.”
He then applies this to reading texts:
“…this means that the text can be listened to on its own terms, without being reduced to the scale of what the reader can or cannot understand at the moment. If it is puzzling, the good reader will pay it the complement of struggling to understand it, of living with it and continuing to listen. But however close the reader gets to understanding the text, the reading will be peculiarly that reader’s reading: the subjective is never lost, nor is it necessary or desirable that it should be. At this level, ‘love’ will mean ‘attention’: the readiness to let the other be the other, the willingness to grow and change in oneself in relation to the other.” (p. 64)
Hermeneutics is a relationship, an act of love, a continual allowing of the text to be the text, an embracing of subjectivity, and a willingness to return, time and time again, to what is familiar in order to allow for it to be new again.