قراءة النص / Reading the Text


حسن حنفي



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حنفي, حسن; Hanafi, Hasan

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The Third World scholar thinking about how to read a text may depend on three kinds of materials: his own tradition, the Western Tradition, and reflection on his own experiences, using the text as authority. In traditional societies the theory of interpretation plays the same role the theory of knowledge does in Western societies. Reading can be done within any culture to preserve the continuity of the tradition through a new understanding and to facilitate a gradual change from Traditionalism to Modernism. Reading can also be intercultural, such as when a thinker reads a translated text or makes a commentary on a work from another culture and, as a result of the dialectic between self and other, synthesizes the material into his own tradition. The text is a registration of an individual or of a community of its own living experiences transfering them to future generations. It is written as an ideological weapon in a power struggle between different social powers. A sacred text (which is much more complex than a legal, literary or historical text because it claims literal historical authenticity and provides a normative base) is predication. The text does not have an objective meaning which can be uncovered through historical knowledge or linguistic rules. The nucleus of meaning in the text exists permanently in the etymological sense, while the technical and the customary senses change. While a text is apparently objective, its meaning is subjectively derived, either in its initial composition or in its subsequent reading. There are neither dogmatic (Divine) nor official (religious institution) meanings. There are neither permanent scientific nor eternal philosophical meanings. The text from the time of its birth is a view of an individual, a perception of a community or a worldview of a whole culture, defending one position against another. A text from the beginning is militant. It does not relate facts, it creates them. The apocryphal may be more factual than the authentic. The interpreter, reading the text, recreates it by accommodating it to his own use. He may create new meaning; the present may be seen in the past; the past may be construed in light of the present. Every interpretation expresses the psychological and socio-political position of the interpreter. Every interpretation expresses a certain Zeitgeist, a Weltanschauung of a special community in time and in space. Every text is a context. The interpreter is required to commit himself to a social cause, to defend mass-interests and to use empirical data to picture quantitative reality described as qualitative meaning in the text. The conformity between the "descendant" meaning from the text and "ascendant" meaning from reality is a criterion of veracity.]

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