Philosophy, Religion, Catholic Studies, and Peace & Conflict Studies Librarian at the University of Manitoba
Philosophy, Religion, and French, Spanish, & Italian Librarian
Father Harold Drake Library and Elizabeth Dafoe Library
February 1, 2018
Determining the meaning of the text as a standalone document. This includes:
- Looking up definitions of complex terms, jargon, and non-English words (e.g., Latin)
- Assessing the internal consistency and coherence of the text. Are there contradictory facts or arguments? Are there leaps in the logic of the text (e.g., non sequitur)?
- Identifying clear indications of meaning (e.g., a thesis statement, arguments, or beliefs)
- Working out the structure of the text
Source: Wineburg, S., & McGrew, S. (2017). Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 3048994). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=3048994
Determining the meaning of the text through its context. This includes:
- Reviewing secondary sources cited/footnoted in the original text. Is the original source's interpretation accurate ? Do the secondary sources provide more meaning?
- Reading commentary, analysis, and criticism of the original text
- Evaluating the historico-political context of the original text and its author(s).
-Attempt to convey meaning through clues and cues (e.g., common idioms and metaphors, conventional language)
-Attempt to interpret author's clues and cues (e.g., figuring out idioms, author's context, etc..)
-Attempt to reasonably align interpretation with other relevant texts (e.g., both current to reader and contemporary to author's context)
Some things to keep in mind while reading this encyclical:
- Identification of themes (e.g., solidarity, sin), arguments/theses (e.g., "solidarity as a christian virtue," p.31)
- Definitions of terms (specialized vocabulary: "superdevelopment," see Section IV; latin: "mutatis mutandis")
- Structure and purpose of text (e.g., what does each section purport to do?)
Biblical references, references to encyclicals, references to key figures
Larger context of catholic social teaching (e.g., Rerum novarum, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church)
Broader historical context (e.g., John Paul II and the Solidarity Movement in Poland, Latin American Liberation Theology, & communism, capitalism, and solidarity).
Reactions to encyclical
- Divide into 3 groups
- Group 1 will look at section V, Group 2 will look at section VI, and Group 3 will look at section VII.
- Identify and discuss 2 "vertical" elements and 2 "lateral" elements in your section.
- Take the two "lateral" elements from (3) that refer to an external source, such as another encyclical, or a Bible passage) and:
- Explain the relevance of the source to the encyclical and your broader understanding of tradition of Catholic Social Teaching
- Assess the use of the source: is another interpretation possible? How and in what ways does John Paul II's use of these sources succeed or fall short?
- Each group will present highlights of their discussion to the class
CATH 3900-A01: Research and Interpretation
By Dom Taylor