Probably there is no definitive reading of a cookbook recipe. But that 
really is of no relevance. Because there are certainly readings of any 
given text that only a damn fool would propound. I don't quite 
understand why anyone would think there was anything profound or even 
interesting in the statement that "There is no definitive reading of X." 
It's trivial and simply doesn't butter any parsnips. One-line readings 
of almost anything  but particularly of complex literary texts almost 
always belong to the catgory of readings which only a damn fool would 
annoy his/her company with.


On 9/14/2011 3:44 PM, Jerome Walsh wrote:


I missed that aspect of your remarks.  I think we're using "reading" in 
different senses.  You are using it in the entirely legitimate sense of 
"textual reading" (a la text criticism of ancient MSS).  In that sense, 
no, there is certainly no "definitive" reading of biblical texts.  In 
fact, the putative "original text" from which the variety of extant text 
forms would have descended is itself viewed as a problematic concept 
today.  More likely is that there was never a single original text of 
which all later MSS are (mis)copies, but a plurality of "original" (and 
unidentical) reductions to writing that have subsequently not only 
diverged through the influence of copyists but also have 
cross-pollinated one another by reciprocal influence.