OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
Here you have the ‘three ages’ of interpretation of texts (which can also be applied to the interpretation of ‘reality’):
Age 1 - Authors create meaning; we should look for what an author ‘intended’ in a text. In a pre-scientific era, there was no question that this was how we should view God and His creation.
Age 2 - Texts have autonomous meaning; once created, they are independent of the authors who created them; the author ‘dies’. This is also what happened when God was kicked upstairs by the theists, so that science could get on with its investigations unhindered by having to relate its findings to God.
Age 3 - Meaning in texts is neither confined to an author’s intent, nor to an autonomous meaning; rather, readers create meaning; hence ‘reader response theory’ (Rorty; Fish). The ‘absentee landlord’, God, has now simply become ‘absent’. The reader/scientist is God.
Apply this to the understanding of the world at large, and we have the movement from the Modern era of investigative science to the postmodern era of the rejection of objective knowledge in favour of personal or contradictory meanings.
Apply this to theology, and we have the movement away from a belief in an objectively existing God and the possibility of ‘knowing’ Him, and therefore the world He created, to a world of word games - where reality exists only insofar as words conjure it up for us.
Until, that is, God breaks in on our solitary confinement and solipsism, and the cycle starts all over again.