Updated: Aug 10, 2020
It was a lively start to the second of the Philosophy and World Religions seminars. Steven Firmin, Pembroke College, Oxford, prompted the students to silently act out scenarios to the group in order to explore the idea of ‘interpretation and art’. Engaging in a spot of amateur dramatics allowed the students to consider the relationship of actor and audience, leading into a discussion of Jacques Derrida’s work on signs.
Through group discussion, Steven prompted the students to consider the relationship of a reader to a text, and how a reader can change the meaning of that text. He posed the question, ‘what is the reader’s relationship to the text and truth?’ using Katie Edward’s criticism of Phyllis Trible as a case study to demonstrate different historical readings of a text.
The seminar ended with analysis of Augustinian hermeneutics and a discussion of God as transcendent of the world of signs in which we live.