Reading the Bible Ethically

Recovering the Voice in the Text


All interpretive systems deal with the author. Modern systems consider the text to be autonomous, so that it is disconnected from the author’s interests. In Reading the Bible Ethically, Eric Douglass reconsiders this connection. His central argument is that the author is a subject who reproduces her culture and her subjectivity in the text. As the author reproduces her subjectivity, the text functions as the author’s voice. This allows Douglass to apply ethical principles to interpretation, where that voice is treated as a subject for conversation, and not an object for manipulation. He uses this to texture the reading process, so that an initial reading takes account of the author’s communication, while a second reading critiques that communication.

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Eric Douglass, M.Div., Th.M., M.D. is adjunct faculty at Randolph-Macon College, where he teaches in the religion department. He has presented numerous academic papers in literary theory, especially as it relates to biblical narratives.
Biblical scholars and graduate students with an interest in literary theory as it applies to hermeneutics, interpretation, and communication.