Monday, July 26, 2010

Dissertation On Speech Act Theory Getting Published

For anyone interested in speech act theory, specifically John R. Searle's philosophy of language rooted in the philosophy of mind, I am pleased to announce that my dissertation will be published through Brill.

My work focuses strictly on Searle's categories of language and mind. I apply his categories to examine what certain biblical writers and characters said and believed concerning Christ's blood.

In the process, I researched how some theologians and biblical scholars have applied speech act theory to Scripture. The results are mixed. It remains unclear why Thiselton, Neufeld, Briggs, and Adams would bring in Donald Evans's hermeneutic of (moral) self-involvement. The other fascinating piece is the lack of interest and work being done with Searle's categories. Evans over Searle--this is rather curious. Searle has made a vast contribution to speech act theory since he studied under J.L. Austin at Oxford over half a century ago, yet he remains largely untapped by those in the theological arena interested in speech act theory. Given that Evans is a believer, and Searle a non-believer, raises the question as to whether theologians and biblical scholars working with speech act theory intentionally ignore Searle's categories.

Is it possible to bridge two distinct disciplines--one religious, one secular? If the biblical writers and the characters performed speech acts, then the answer to this is 'yes.' As Searle indicated to me in conversation at one point, "If my categories of language and mind are good, then they apply to all types of discourse, including that of the biblical writers and speakers. If my categories are no good, then they do not apply." This basic premise, that Searle's categories are good, frames my work. Look for the release of my book to learn more.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Please God, It's Mother's Day

Today marks my second Mother's Day. I had a son in March of 2009. What an adventure we've had in his first year. He loves all sorts of crackers: animal, Ritz, graham, goldfish. I find it very difficult to write about my son. I guess pain is part of motherhood at times. Then there is the experience of science and God in the same space. Science has far to go in treating NF1. As of right now, the manifestations of NF1 in my son can only be treated surgically.

I wait for science. God waits for me.

The days leading up to my son's brain/skull/eye surgery, I pay close attention to my son's head and hair, knowing that these are final moments for him without scars, and with hair. I look away lest I swallow the ball forming in my throat.

Please God.

The medical team saves me some of my son's hair from the surgery. Later, back at the Ronald McDonald House, I find it in a zipped baggie among his clothes, toy, and blanket--all handed to me in a white bag. I remember the nurse who handed me the bag. When she walked away, I stood there alone, holding only its draw strings. I cannot describe the feeling, but it must have come awfully close to what it feels like to lose a child.

Please God.

Prayer makes a difference, not so much in ridding my son of NF1 as I hope, but in teaching me to accept things as they are.

Now I must go get my son. Thank you, God, that he cries to me from his crib.