The divine authorship of Scripture has been a much-debated topic throughout history, particularly in the modern and postmodern eras. Those who continue to hold to such a conviction have often wrestled with its hermeneutical implications. Hermeneutic realists who employ forms of authorial discourse interpretation have realized that their presuppositions regarding the divine authorship of Scripture pose significant hermeneutical challenges. In particular, it is often believed that the divine author may intend to communicate something different from what the human author of the text intended. This belief has led many to employ what became known as a sensus plenior hermeneutic, a hermeneutic that has generated criticism from both hermeneutic realists and non-realists alike. Recent years have witnessed renewed interest in understanding Scripture as divine communication. Those involved in theological hermeneutics have drawn upon advances in a wide range of disciplines in order to develop and defend their methodologies. From the fields of communication theory and pragmatics, speech act theory has been proffered by some as providing an insightful analysis of the anatomy of communication and, in particular, authorial intention. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how speech act theory highlights the problems related to a dual-authorship hermeneutic and with sensus plenior approaches in particular. At the same time, speech act theory is shown to be a valuable tool that can clarify interpretive goals and enable a greater appreciation of the divine authorship of Scripture at both canonical and intracanonical levels.

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