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.