4 trips through early american citizens Mary Rowlandson, Sarah Kemble Knight, William Byrd II, and Dr. Alexander Hamilton recount the shiny actual and mental demanding situations of colonial existence. crucial basic texts within the learn of early American cultural existence, they're now comfortably amassed in one quantity.
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For pasto- THE RELIGIOUS USE AND ABUSE OF LITERATURE 19 ral critics, the function of the study of Christianity and the arts was primarily pedagogical; for apodictic critics, the function of such study was and remains essentially evaluative and prescriptive. The theological position of critics representative of the first orientation was flexible and open; the theological position of critics of the second was invariably rigid arid closed. The latter's standard of selection and discrimination was always some form of orthodoxy, and they saw their chief aim, indeed, the aim of all criticism, as a determination of the traditions of Christian literature; or, if it was presumed that no literature can be fully Christian but Scripture itself, then the determination of those traditions of art and literature that can serve as a propaedeutic for faith.
For want of a better term, I will call this kind of criticism "traditional" in orientation. The question the "traditional" critic poses is how to make intellectual and religious sense of the great variety of texts, figures, and genres that constitute the literature of the West, and the tactic he or she employs is to use any one or more of the distinctive beliefs, assumptions, or motifs of the Judiac-Christian heritage as a kind of hermeneutical key to unlock the meaning within. Criticism operating in this fashion usually proceeds in any one of four ways: either by interpreting individual works, writers, genres, or traditions in terms of some theological concept or doctrine (say, the doctrine of Providence in Samson Agonistes, or Kierkegaard's notion of "the teleological suspension of the ethical" as a key to the moral dialectic in Dostoevsky); or by interpreting them in terms of 36 THE INTERPRETATION OF OTHERNESS some theologian or theological system (the "Augustinian strain of piety" in New England colonial literature, or Calvinistic echoes in the fiction of Herman Melville); or by interpreting them in terms of some more or less discrete religious movement (New England Transcendentalism in the work of Henry David Thoreau, Ignatian traditions of spiritual meditation in the poetry of the English metaphysicals); or by interpreting them in terms of some particular theological issue or religious archetype (the nature of evil in Othello, the relation between doubt and belief in the poetry of T.
It would be scarcely an exaggeration to say that the whole neo-orthodox edifice has been dismantled in Protestant theology, and that in its place there are at best only a contending, and often contentious, set of conceptual and methodological options—process theology; the new analytic theology generated by the language philosophy of A. J. Ayer, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and others; a revival of interest in theological phenomenology and anthropology; the new hermeneutics; and the various theologies of liberation, which take in everything from the theology of hope, 38 THE INTERPRETATION OF OTHERNESS Black theology, feminist theology, the theology of play, and the Marxist-Christian dialogue to the Death-of-God or radical theology and the new polytheism.