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The Virtuous Reader: Old Testament Narrative and Interpretive Virtue

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The Virtuous Reader: Old Testament Narrative and Interpretive Virtue

How ought we to read? In The Virtuous Reader: Old Testament Narrative and Interpretive Virtue, Richard Briggs argues there ought to be a balance between reader and text that allows "the reader to work on the text at the same time as the text works on the reader." The relationship between reader and text should be held in a tension, where both parties feed into, make demands, and fundamentally challenge, one another.

Briggs believes the relationship between reader and text requires a morally virtuous interaction (virtuous in the classical sense) before a text can be read. In this book, Briggs wants to put this hermeneutic "in play" by applying it to specific OT texts and then developing an appropriate interpretation of the selected text.

Briggs wants his left to know what his right hand is doing and therefore does not only postulate a basic hermeneutic--he uses it to produce a refined interpretation within the context of the Christian theological tradition. Therefore, we should not make the mistake of thinking this book a hermeneutical exposition. It is not. As much as Briggs thinks about the abstract, his goal is to apply his "virtuous methodology" to specific Old Testament texts to illuminate how they imply the role of the virtuous reader in the text and consequently demonstrate his hermeneutic.

Texts include Numbers 3.12; 1 Kings 3; 2 Kings 18-19; Ruth 1; and Isaiah 6.
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