Love in Interpretation


Bryant K. Owens, Love in Interpretation: The Value of Augustine's Hermeneutic in an Age of Secular Epistemology (iUniverse, 2019)


Owens, Bryant K. Love in Interpretation: The Value of Augustine's Hermeneutic in an Age of Secular Epistemology. iUniverse, 2019. 

Publication life cycle / General notes

Interacts with Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith (#1988-489), for about three pages in a section entitled "Pneumatology in the Hermeneutics of the Ancient Church."


Dr. Bryant K. Owens presents the argument of the value of the Christian tradition of caritas (or love) from the philosophy and the subsequent hermeneutic of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) within contemporary philosophical scholarship. Dr. Owens's study of Augustine's investigations into biblical interpretation will reveal that he sought the beauty of understanding as evidenced through caritas. The shift in the Western philosophical tradition during the Enlightenment period resulted in a solid break from authority-based hermeneutics to the autonomy of the mind. The result was a greater emphasis on the literal meaning of a text, as gleaned from the subjective mind of the reader and through grammatical and historical criticism, over the spiritual meaning of the text, or application of the greater meaning to Christian living. Dr. Owens proposes that the benefits of Augustine's caritas as the a priori spirit of the biblical text and the proper application of that spirit in contemporary scholarship, should be the epistemological focus of hermeneutics rather than the emphasis on method prevalent from Spinoza to Dilthey. The concluding value from Augustine's hermeneutic is that caritas is a product of understanding while at the same time is the method, or means, by which caritas is produced. Therefore, Augustine's hermeneutic argues that the sense, or spirit, of Scripture is caritas and is the truth to which all Christian philosophy must cohere.