Sheelah, no, I haven’t yet read _Decite, Desire and the Novel_; although, I did attempt it a couple of years ago. Regrettably, I can be a bit overly fastidious when I sit down to read and with every page turn I felt myself to be more and more inadequate of a reader—as I hadn’t (at that time) ever read a single page of Cervantes, Flaubert, Stendhal or Proust. Before I finished the first chapter, I convinced myself that if I were to appreciate this work of Girard’s to any extent whatsoever, then I would at least need to familiarize myself with the Cliff Notes of these works—or something!! Since then I’ve managed to read some Don Quixote excerpts and purchase Madame Bovary from our local library discard shelf, but I fear I still have a long way to go before I can give that book the specialized attention is seems to require.
When it comes to the Bible, what do you think is the difference between asking “What does the text say?” and “How do you read it?”
When we ask “What does the text say?” we pretend the Bible is like a conveyor belt spitting out messages we either grasp hold of, mishandle, or let drop on the floor. The question seems to imply that the meaning of a text can be so utterly divorced from the text that we might just be able to ignore the original texts altogether once we extract their meaning from them.
Conversely, when we respond to “How do you read the text?” there can be no grounds by which we could ever set the text aside as a thing which has already served its purpose. For that reason, I think the latter is a superior question for readers to ask.