In as much as literary theory is a reflection of modern thought, not to mention its implications for biblical criticism, it is worth endeavoring to understand it.Another way to answer the original question is from a purely pragmatic viewpoint, as Kevin Vanhoozer has said, "For better or for worse, every form of literary criticism eventually finds at least one biblical exegete who is willing to be its champion." These words have shown true time and again. Post-structuralist theories such as reader-response theory and Deconstructionism have been gaining in popularity in biblical circles and it is these same post-modern theories that represent the greatest challenge to a grammatical-historical understanding of the text.In the disciplines of literary criticism and hermeneutics (when hermeneutics principally referred to the methods and rules of interpretation) it was originally assumed that meaning resided with the author.
To understand the challenge raised by these theories we must first survey the changes that have occurred in literary criticism in the recent past.
Literary theory has undergone drastic changes in the past century and this paper is an attempt to understand some of the influences that have altered the critical landscape.
Third, post-modernism differs from modernism in the degree to which pluralism is experienced by the average person.
As these phenomena have influenced culture, what people view as plausible has clearly changed.
One of the difficulties encountered in elaborating on these terms is that there is no clear disjuncture between these two time periods or paradigms in thinking.
Although many try, it is difficult to say exactly when modernism began and ended and when post-modernism has taken over.
In the third chapter I will attempt the same goal from a sociological perspective, based primarily on the thought of Peter Berger.
My purpose is to examine and attempt to explain reader-response criticism in light of post-modern thought.
Increasingly, religious truth claims, individual morality, and meaning (whether it be that of a text or of life in general) are relegated to the latter, undergoing the same kind of privatization as capitalism has brought to property rights.
Third, modernism shows a strong inclination toward individualism with its emphasis on freedom and the "existing" individual.