December 15, 2011

What does it take to understand the world? How does one begin to grapple with the issues faced by communities beyond our borders? Is it possible to connect with people who have lived experiences so vastly different from our own?

If there’s hope in doing any of these, its can only be through love.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Augustine of Hippo was a preeminent medieval Western theologian and philosopher. A hermeneutic refers to a particular method of interpretation – and on particularly thoughtful days, Augustine’s hermeneutical principles come to mind.

Making reference to Biblical interpretation, Augustine argued that true understanding did not come from an intellectual pursuit of an objective reality. Instead, such revelation only comes when the interpreter herself starts from a position of love, and is changed by love through the pursuit of understanding.

As Foucault has taught us ad nauseam, knowledge = power, and we know that power is usually not very kind to the common man. And so alas, we find ourselves in a world with lots of knowledge and not a lot of love. Read the rest of this entry »