Terminology Tuesday: Reader-Response Theory of Hermeneutics

Reader-Response Theory of Hermeneutics: A postmodern form of literary criticism that explores the capacity of the biblical texts to shape, revise or confirm the expectations readers bring to their reading of the text. This approach challenges the assumption of much of modern hermeneutics that the main task of exegesis is to approach the text as a disinterested exegete and to determine, through the use of scientific strategies of interpretation, the intent of the original author of the text. Reader-response theorists, in contrast, maintain that the reader and the text are interdependent. What is important then is not so much the intent of the original author of the text but the “conversation” between reader and text that emerges in the reading of the text.1

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 99.

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Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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