Chinese University Hong Kong

Lecture and Seminar at Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of English, April 11, 2014

Events & Seminars
“Porphyry’s Hermeneutics of Revelation and the Philosophical Criticism of Literature” by Prof. William Franke
11 Apr 2014
11:30 am
Prof. William Franke, Philosophy and Religious Studies Programme, The University of Macau
Porphyry’s Hermeneutics of Revelation and the Philosophical Criticism of Literature
E-Zone, 3/F Fung King Hey Building
Porphyry’s in the Cave of the Nymphs inaugurates a style of philosophico-allegorical interpretation of literary texts that flourished in antiquity and that finds analogues in criticism down to the present. It is distinguished by its use of literary interpretation to think through speculative problems of philosophy and theology. Although it became suspect in terms of Enlightenment philological principles prescribing interpretation of the text. In its own terms, this kind of criticism reveals the originally philosophical motives and purpose of literary criticism and restores to literature the vocation of disclosing a properly poetic truth higher than that of fact or history. The history of this type of speculative criticism stemming from Porphyry reading of Homer is then traced forward through Latin allegorical readings of epic revolving around Virgil. This itinerary highlights the perennial and inevitable tensions between philological and philosophical approaches to interpreting literature as a revelation of truth, even of theological truth.

Porphyry’s Hermeneutics of Revelation and the Philosophical Interpretation of Literature

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