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" the greatest contribution to [semiotics] since the pioneering work of C. S. Peirce and Charles Morris." -Journal of A Theory of Semiotics. UMBERTO ECO . Umberto Eco, The Role of the Reader (Bloomington: Indiana University. Press, 1 ), p. In the course of this book, I use (as I did in A Theory of Semiotics). Provides a theory of codes and a theory of sign production and discusses communication and signification.
Two Models of Interpretation 2. Unlimited Semiosis and Drift: Pragmaticism vs. Intentio Lectoris: The State of the Art 4. Small Worlds 5. Interpreting Serials 6. Interpreting Drama 7. Interpreting Animals 8.
Eco provides his understanding of meaning in his chapter where he develops his theory of codes. Eco uses the example of a water-gate system to show his understanding of denotation and connotation. This example uses an engineer as the destination apparatus. Here he draws from what Louis Hjelmslev calls a connotative semiotics. As a sign, AB stands for the water having reached the danger level.
This is the denotation of AB. A denotation is the immediate content of an expression. The appropriate response for the engineer to have after receiving the expression AB would be to evacuate water. This is what Eco calls the connotation of AB. What constitutes a connotation as such is the connotative code which establishes it; the characteristic of a connotative code is the fact that the further signification conventionally relies on a primary one the engineer knows he must evacuate the water because he knows that the water has reached the danger level.
Eco notes that, theoretically, someone could have instructed the engineer to evacuate water when he received the expression AB, thereby making the water evacuation the denotation of the code.
But before this can be discussed, one must first understand how Eco himself defines meaning.
From a semiotic point of view it can only be a cultural unit. It may be a person, place, thing, feeling, state of affairs, sense of foreboding, fantasy, hallucination, hope or idea. Peirce referred to as the interpretants.
Interpretants are not the same thing as interpreters. The code is the sign-system, lattice, or network, in terms of which the linguistic choices which convey the message are expressed. This understanding of meaning seems a possible solution to the problem of meaning posited above. Whereas understandings of meaning that overemphasize authorial intention or reader significance are too narrow, understanding meaning in the way that Eco does in his semiotics can provide a broad enough understanding to account for issues of both aforementioned theories.
If meaning is a cultural unit, then the meaning of a sign and its function in texts cannot be solely determined by how an individual author intends to use it, but along with the culture that designated it. A connotation of this expression is that one will burn her hand if she sticks her hand in the fire.
In this example, friend A does not intend to warn friend B of the consequences of sticking her hand in the fire; rather, she intends merely to comment on the high temperature of the flames. Both denotations and connotations are present in the meaning of a sign or text, for both are part of a cultural unit. In other words, both authorial intention and reader significance are present in meaning, for both are parts of a cultural unit. To make his text communicative, the author has to assume that the ensemble of codes he relies upon is the same as that shared by his possible reader.
The author has thus to foresee a model of the possible reader hereafter Model Reader supposedly able to deal interpretatively with the expressions in the same way as 15 the author deals generatively with them. Instead, she must use a code that is recognizable by her reader. Authors must follow the rules of a sign system when seeking to generate a meaningful code. These rules are provided by a culture rather than individual authors.
A similar understanding of meaning can be found in the theological method of Wolfhart Pannenberg. The meaning of texts, in as much as they presuppose a totality of meaning, must incorporate issues of authorial intention and reader significance. Since the totality of meaning presupposes a coherent system of meaning, the significance the text has for readers cannot be in discontinuity with what the author intended when he generated the text.
As will be demonstrated in what follows, Paul does not simply interpret the Genesis narratives to discover what their original authors intended. Rather, the meaning he gleans from these texts seems to fit better with what Eco calls a cultural unit.
The specific passage that will be examined here is Galatians Up until this point in the letter, Paul has been dealing with a sort of identity crisis in Galatia. Along with N. In other words, I do not interpret the trouble the Judaizers had stirred up to be concerned with doing the right things but with being in the right group.
The Judaizers seem to have still been holding on to the idea that the people of God were the Jews and that Gentile Christians must also become part of the Jewish community.
This is the issue in which Paul had to deal. How are Gentiles included in the covenant community of God? As Paul argues, it is not through becoming part of the 17 referred to as the Judaizers, have come into the Galatian churches and are trying to convince the Christians there that they must convert to Judaism in order to be part of the covenant community of God.
This entailed circumcision. Paul then continues his argument by discussing the figures of Sarah and Hagar. He has been arguing up to this point that those who seek a righteousness from the law stand under the curse of the law.
Jewish community; rather, it is through being united with Christ in faith. Rather, for the Jews, salvation was inseparable from being part of Israel. For more on this interpretation of Galatians, see N. This is where his figurative interpretation of Sarah and Hagar comes into play. According to Paul, Abraham had two sons, one from a free woman and one from a slave woman. Sarah is the free woman and Hagar is the slave woman.
Sinai and the earthly Jerusalem and that Sarah represents the heavenly Jerusalem. Each woman is a covenant. Sarah is the heavenly Jerusalem covenant, and the children she bears are born into freedom Gal The Christians of Galatia, like Isaac, are children of the promise rather than children of slavery. The Sinai covenant is considered to be a covenant of the flesh while the covenant of the heavenly Jerusalem is considered to be a covenant of the promise.
The children of the promise are those who have been united to Christ in faith while the children of slavery are those who seek to live under the law. The Sinai covenant has not yet been made, nor is Jerusalem a city of significance yet in the historical context of the Genesis narrative. The meaning of the figures of Sarah and Hagar develops over time as they become more significant. In this case, the meaning of these two figures cannot be distinguished apart from their significance. Yet Paul interprets the figures of Sarah and Hagar for meaning in light of these concepts.
Nevertheless, one should note that the significance of Sarah and Hagar as figures does not stand in discontinuity with the original author-intended meaning of the narratives. Richard B.
Specifically, in this work, Hays is concerned with intertextuality as in the letters of Paul. He specifically uses the theory of echo proposed by John Hollander. As noted above, the theory of intertextuality that Hays 41 Hays, Echoes, Hays provides an insightful discussion on Gal Paul, on the other hand, does not explicitly focus on Isaac and Ishmael, but on their mothers. This polarity, however, is a hermeneutical device introduced by Paul, highlighting a minor feature of the Genesis narrative.
We have seen time and again in this book that Paul does indeed draw on scripture to create a picture of the people of God which he then proceeds to apply to the church of his own day. Rather, he interprets Genesis in light of his current context in the Church. The story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Ishmael is a figurative portrayal whose meaning can only be understood with reference to the pastoral and theological issues that Paul is now addressing.
Nor was he unique in so doing. Many of the contrasts and conflicts he highlights were highlighted by other Jews as well.
Rather, as we have argued above, Paul grounds his reading of the Sarah and Hagar narrative in an important pattern of OT salvation-historical movement, a reading, to be sure, enhanced by his hermeneutical axioms. He gives to the narrative before him in Genesis, without denying its intended historical sense, an additional or added meaning in light of these hermeneutical axioms.
What is important to note is that any contemporizing reading of the OT, whether that found in the Dead Sea Scrolls or in the rabbis or in early Christianity, is inevitably the product of some set of extratextual hermeneutical axioms. If the meaning of a text is identical with only what the original author intended, then Paul has made some serious exegetical errors. Again, according to Eco, a unit is anything that is defined or distinguished by a culture as an entity.
The figures of Sarah and Hagar, as found in the Genesis narratives, are units that belong to a specific culture, the covenant community of God. As such their meaning is further developed by this culture. One should note that the original authors of these narratives help form this community. They encoded these codes 51 Hays, Echoes, In other words, they have the capacity to understand the code before the code is generated.
Connotation: A second-level code based on the first, as in metaphors, tropes, and double meanings the second-level code presupposes a polyvocal sign , for example: to be down in the dumps.
Eco instead proposes a representation of the sign based on inference and a system of contextual instructions; in other words, "the sign is an instruction for interpretation" , A review of the possibilities of sign production shows that there is a semiosic continuum, which goes from the strongest coding ratio difficilis to the most open and indeterminate ratio facilis see table below, taken from Eco, , Substitution alone does not establish the condition for a sign; the existence of a possible interpretation is also required.
The interpreted content takes us beyond the originating sign, and is always what opens up to something new. A typology of modes of sign production 2.
At one end of the type-token ratio abstraction versus concrete manifestation , we have ratio facilis where the expression's concrete manifestation matches its own expression type, following institutionalized conventions that are understandable if one knows the code , as in symptoms that may be recognized by "their conformity to a type" translation of Eco, : At the other end of the range we have ratio difficilis where "the expression type matches the content type" : , as in an arrow using a motivated link to signify "go straight" in various situations.
Even out of context, however, the arrow is still toposensitive , The type of continuum to be shaped motivated heteromaterial, homomaterial, arbitrary heteromaterial. The mode and complexity of articulation, which ranges from systems with strongly coded units to those in which the units are difficult to identify translation of Eco, , This chapter will be limited to a discussion of points 1and 2; the last two will not be addressed here due to their highly specific nature.
In Eco's typology, however, they are not. These names were given for practical simplification. These are truly sign-functions, not "signs". A sender not necessarily a person; it may simply be nature, a traffic sign, etc.
The addressee is some sort of interpreter who uses his knowledge of the same code to discern the meaning of the message. Indeed, even natural signs are codified, as shown in the classification of signs. Imprints are not signs, but rather elements to be integrated as part of a semiotic function.
The track may be interpreted by its distinctness: Depending on the temperature, an indistinct track may signify that a man walked by not very recently, or it may indicate his direction a vector ; a person walking backwards can thereby mislead others as to his starting point and destination. For example, red spots on someone's face can be a symptom of either measles or a high fever. They are not produced intentionally. For example, smoke is a symptom used to identify the presence of a fire.
Conversely, smoke produced deliberately to signal the presence of fishermen shipwrecked on a desert island must be considered as an index of human presence, since it is intentionally produced.
Indices are marks that are not imprints or symptoms, and consequently, they function differently.
Indices are easily falsifiable.