Through a glass darkly, seeking the common ground : the value of Derrida's two interpretations of interpretation for reading literature in religious education
Author(s)Collins, Helen E
Moral and ethical aspects.
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AbstractThis thesis investigates and demonstrates the value of using Derrida's "two interpretations of interpretation" (the Rousseauistic and the Nietzschean) to enrich the reading of literature in Religious Education with reference to I.e Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. Religious Education has responded in recent decades to developments in pedagogy, theology, and various other disciplines such as psychology and sociology. However, religious educators do not seem to have considered the question of the impact of modern literary theory on Religious Education. Such theories have influenced the way in which literature is read and studied in the English classroom. Such developments should be of interest not only to the English teacher but also to the Religious Education teacher. The hypothesis underlying this thesis is that the Derridean common ground of the Rousseauistic and Nietzschean interpretations will broaden and enhance the reading of literature in Religious Education by facilitating both the search for the centre (search for finite meaning) and the free play of signifiers (pursuit of infinitely deferred and pluralistic meaning). Generally, Post-Structuralism, with its emphasis on the impossibility of absolute meaning, seems antithetical to Religious Education, with its emphasis on the search for meaning. However, Derrida's common ground of the two interpretative positions suggests a reading of literature that allows for both the Rousseauistic concern with centre and definitive meaning and the Nietzschean concern with free play and provisional meaning. This thesis, then, establishes that the value of 'story' in Religious Education is considerably enriched by the adoption of Derrida's "two interpretations of interpretation" as an approach for reading literature, whether secular or sacred, in Religious Education.