Thursday, 7 May 2015

Kristian Heal: Construal and Construction of Genesis in early Syriac Sermons

The literary critic Stanley Fish argued that, ‘Interpretation is not the art of construing but the art of constructing'. Thus meanings are to be found in (re)constructing texts and not simply in explaining them. We could argue whether Fish's observation is in fact correct, but I prefer to take it a prompt to reassess the interpretative value of the reconstructed narratives which we find in numerous late antique Syriac sermons on Genesis. We are entirely comfortable in attributing interpretative value to the commentary, which in essence is construing a text. My concern in this paper, however, is with the interpretative process and impact of the construction of a new scriptural story in Syriac sermons, or what we may call the hermeneutics of invention.

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