This article explores the effect of basic hermeneutical commitments on biblical interpretation, both historical-critical and theological. First, it examines a recent and controversial historical-critical reading of Rom 1, found in Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God, by placing it in conversation with St. Augustine's own exegesis of the same passage in De Trinitate. Campbell sees Paul to be enacting in the opening chapters of Romans a parody of an opponent's preaching and performing a Socratic reduction to absurdity of the argument, clearing the way for his own message. Although many critiques of Campbell's reading note its novelty with some frustration, I suggest that the complex of interpretive moves St. Augustine performs on Rom 1:18–32, and especially on 1:20, constitute a weighty recognition from tradition in support of Campbell's thesis that the passage is ripe for rereading. Campbell's unintentional sympathy with Augustine is found owing to a similarity in approach between Campbell's Polanyist hermeneutic and Augustine's fides quaerens intellectum, both of which admit the effect of readers' own commitments on a text while preserving a meaningful way to arbitrate between competing readings. For both readers, I suggest, competing construals of a text depend for their validity on their ability to negotiate all the features of a text on multiple interpretive planes with simplicity and ease, an admittedly esthetic criterion that ancient theologians would call "fittingness." I conclude that esthetic modes of inquiry may be especially fruitful in discovering other sympathies such as those of Campbell and Augustine.

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