The Philosophy of Reading

Today in church I thought to myself, “I hate Romans 13.”  Now, as a Christian I have a conversation with the text and I try to learn from it, ask questions, learn some more, maybe ask different questions, and hopefully accept the answers given.  This naturally brings us to a philosophy of reading.

A lot of people will approach a text that they already disagree with and they will stand as vociferous critics over it.  They will argue endlessly against every point and come away convinced about how horrid the book was and stupid the position is to hold.  However, this position seems rather inadequate to me.

Instead, we sit under the text as a student does under a teacher (or, maybe, as a student used to sit under a teacher).  We read to learn and to interpret charitably and to inhabit another world for a time.  This doesn’t mean that we accept everything we read, but that we are willing to listen, we have a conversation, and we see where things lie afterwards.  But, I suppose, any other course wasn’t really reading anyway.


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