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To Receive a Text

Literary Reception Theory as a Key to Ecumenical Reception

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Linda Gaither

The term reception has leapt into prominence in the context of ecumenical dialogues. Documentary evidence from one dialogue, the first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), suggests that competing notions of the nature and function of reception in the authority structures of the Church inform opposing interpretations of the ARCIC texts. Developing an interdisciplinary tactic, this study organizes critical categories from the field of literary theory into a spectrum of views on the activity of readers in the reception of texts. This spectrum provides a heuristic framework for analyzing what is at stake for believers in various notions of reception operative in the ARCIC dialogue process.