Eating and Interpreting Ethically

Blah.. I’m sick and I need to sleep … instead …

If texts are virtual bodies, and communities of interpretation social bodies, and audiences different kinds of social bodies then the question of ethical interpretation of a text is one of fittedness or appropriateness more than morality. It is about this body making sense in the context of this other body. Or about this body not making sense in the right way.

So when Mennonites interpret the bible nonviolently they bring an outside criteria to bear on the text … just like other ethical interpreters. But since it is a criteria that was found inside the text in the first place it is more a case of Mennonites saying that this body makes sense in the context of our body in that it is not violent. We have consumed the text in this way; we don’t understand this text as violent. Our decision to ignore, disregard or deemphasize violent aspects of the text is not about poor interpretation but rather about how we have eaten the bible. When society doesn’t accept our nonviolent interpretation then we recognize that that is more about society’s violence then it is about the text being wrong or about our interpertation being wrong. We don’t know that we are right and we don’t force people to believe that we are right. But we have become what we have eaten.

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