Dwelling in the Thickness
In this chapter, Walter Brueggemann responds to the other essays in the volume. He likens phenomenology to the methods of “close reading” and “thick description” advocated by George Lindbeck and Gilbert Ryle based on Clifford Geertz’s anthropological method. He argues that such approaches have an important political function: they resist our culture’s totalizing impulse to master and control meaning by exploring the richness of texts. Brueggemann also helpfully situates phenomenology as “readings from and in a third place.” First, there are the “canonical” readings of scripture, reflecting the church’s practices of reading. Second, there are the reading practices of the critical academy, which are often in tension with the church. Phenomenology offers a third mode of reading, drawing from both the church and the academy while in thrall to neither.
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