chapter  8
12 Pages

Felicity and Fusion: Speech Act Theory and Hermeneutical Philosophy

ByDan R. Stiver

A number of thinkers, especially in the field of theology and biblical hermeneutics, have turned to speech act theory in order to traverse ugly hermeneutical ditches from the past and to enable interpretative advances. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Kevin Vanhoozer and Nancey Murphy are three of the most notable.1 All three have been attracted to speech act theory because it allows for more nuanced approaches in dealing, for example, with the vexed relationships between history and literature (might we say ‘fiction’?) in the canonical Christian gospels. All endorse the extension of the range of speech act theory to ‘textual acts’; in other words, to written works. All three mentioned above also conclude that this turn to speech act theory undergirds a return to the idea of authorial intent as a control for interpretative anarchy.