chapter  1
27 Pages

Contexts and Obstacles

ByAlan Jacobs

Though Augustine makes his suggestion about loving interpretation in the context of Biblical exegesis and exposition, this chapter considers other kinds of texts in the context of agape. Of course, certain circumstances are relevant to every experience of reading. Perhaps, Augustine is actually more concerned about error than he would at first appear to be. Certainly he is not claiming that the reader can simply assume an attitude of love and then sally boldly forth, like Don Quixote, to interpret Scripture without fear. Agape thus justifies and enables all other loves, rather than competing with them. After all, Jesus' commandment is twofold and implies a close connection between love of God and love of neighbor, which is what Adam emphasizes in his wooing of Dinah and what Bonhoeffer elaborates on in his letter. Any notion of hermeneutics—or any other human activity—guided by love will always and inevitably meet with strong opposition.