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Arguing over TextsThe Rhetoric of Interpretation$
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Martin Camper

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190677121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190677121.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 April 2021

The Interpretive Stases

The Interpretive Stases

A Theory of How People Argue over Texts

(p.1) 1 The Interpretive Stases
Arguing over Texts

Martin Camper

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 introduces the interpretive stases as a neglected rhetorical method that could be productively employed by scholars to analyze debates over the meaning of texts in virtually any sphere. The chapter begins with a debate over one of the leaked 2009 “climategate” emails, which seriously damaged the credibility of climatologists, to illustrate the far-reaching consequences of interpretive arguments. A brief sketch is provided of the interpretive stases’ history, from their origins in ancient Greco-Roman legal theory to when they were dropped from rhetorical manuals in the seventeenth century. The chapter explores the relationship between rhetoric and hermeneutics—philosophical, literary, legal, and religious—and argues that no school of hermeneutics offers a general method for analyzing the argumentative push and pull involved in the interpretation of any text. The final part of the chapter outlines the six interpretive stases and discusses how they frame textual interpretation in terms of argument and persuasion.

Keywords:   classical rhetorical theory, climategate, interpretive disagreement, interpretive stases, legal hermeneutics, literary hermeneutics, philosophical hermeneutics, religious hermeneutics, stasis theory, textual interpretation

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