The Covert Magisterium: Theology, Textuality and the Question of Scripture
This project utilizes cultural materialist methodologies to examine the doctrine of Scripture as it pertains to post-20th Century North American theologians. The dissertation puts forth the thesis that such theologians ignore the physical aspects of printed Bibles, preferring to refer instead to a reified and abstract notion of “Scripture.” As a result, additions by publishers such as footnotes, editorial addenda, marginalia and other “paratextual effects” function, for the theologian and lay reader alike, as a “covert Magisterium,” which shapes the reader’s interpretation and understanding of the text. This dissertation presents contemporary American theologians with a methodology for examining these covert influences, and exhorts them to respond to the ethical challenge posed by the presence of such covert ideological influences in printed versions Scripture.
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