I can usually tell a good book by whether or not the preface intrigues or excites me. Since it has been a few years since Kevin Vanhoozer’s Is There A Meaning in This Text ? was published, my recently ordered edition has a two prefaces: an original and an anniversary edition, the latter expressing some of his own second thoughts.
There, Vanhoozer says:
My book aspires to being Augustinian – an exercise in faith seeking (literary) understanding – and there is nothing more Augustinian than reconsidering what one has previously said. Augustine is one of the few ever to publish a book containing his “second thoughts” about his own writings (1).
Vanhoozer is referring to Augustine’s Retractationes, which did not just retract earlier thoughts, but “highlighted what he found correct and what he found incorrect or misleading in reviewing his written corpus.” Vanhoozer continues, “to his credit, Augustine was less concerned about justifying his earlier opinions than in pressing on towards the truth.”
In that spirit, I’d like to take my own stab at some “second thoughts,” and figured opening a blog series was the best way to do that. At this point, I am entirely open to suggestion for posts to re-visit, but what I’ve got in mind is going back to many of my earliest posts on here that are a) hardly ever read and b) not very well written.
The idea would be to reassess the thinking in the those posts and then re-write the essence of them in a more readable and up-to-form. I imagine that in doing so, I may retract some ideas and phrasings I once advocated, but will also be able to reaffirm in more readable language some of the earlier thoughts I had on here.
If you’ve got some ideas for where I could start or what older posts you’d like to see whittled down from 2000 to 500 words, let me know in the comments. Soon though, I’ll fill in a table contents below, and we’ll be off and running!