Reading as Wandering, Wandering as Theology: Textual Landscapes, Flaneury, and the Social History of Contemporary [Theological] Reading

Elia, Anthony J.

The title of this paper might seem a bit confusing at first: “Reading as Wandering, Wandering as Theology.” But it embodies the main points I want to make today. First, “How do we understand and define reading?” And second, “What is the relationship to theology/-ies?” I will argue that the nexus here is the act of “wandering” (which embodies not just the act of “wending” or “going,” but “action” itself). There is the connotation that “wandering” is a motion of aimlessness. But I will suggest that it is partially directed by our experiences, and that wandering is both an act and lifestyle that is culturally and socially coded: coded in some societies to emote laziness (a negative attribute); coded in other societies as leisure (a more positive attribute). And it is with terms like “laziness” and “leisure” that we will discuss, in order to elucidate the real meaning behind “wandering” and whether there is something more well-defined or thought-out behind our actions as wanderers—either wanderers in life, which brings us to theological understanding, or wanderers in the text, which also brings us to theological understanding


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December 5, 2011