Language & Meaning
Kevin J. Vanhoozer Is There a Meaning in This Text?
For if the author is the point of origin, the “original meaning” is identical with “author’s meaning.” The original meaning alone is the authentic meaning, the author’s actual, authoritative meaning. Author, authority, authentic – all notions that, when bound together, reinforce the idea (or idol) of the sign’s [i.e. the text’s] reliability (46).
Language is a God given capacity that enables human beings to relate to God, the world and to one another. Specifically, language involves a kind of relating with God, the world and others that yields personal knowledge. Language, that is, should be seen as the most important means and medium of communication and communion. … If we being not from Derrida’s Doubt but from Christian doctrine, we can formulate the following thesis: the design plan of language is to serve as the medium of covenantal relations with God, with others, with the world (205-06).
Is there a meaning in the text? Properly to describe meaning requires us to describe the author’s intended action – not the plan with which the author set out to write, nor the consequences that an author hoped to achieve by writing, but what the author was doing in writing, in tending to his words in such and such a fashion (253).