Would it be safe to say that Orthodox theologians use it to illuminate their understanding of the 'context' of the written word or is this not a fair statement?
Kind of. The whole issue is a question for academics. None of this is important for one's personal walk of faith. Just experience the Scriptures within the liturgical context and as God's Word within private devotion.
How does one 'beat it at it's own game'? BTW, I've never went to school to study these topics so be gentile you are talking to a 'peasant'.
Again, it doesn't really matter outside of academia. Certain postmodern literary theories actually support the traditional Orthodox experience of Scripture, which is one that is highly inter-textual. The early Christian approach to Scripture (i.e. the Septuagint) was to treat Scripture as a field in which Christ, the Pre-Eternal Logos, is planted as a seed -- not as a text that most be understood in light of authorial intent or cultural context or any of the other preoccupations of the historical-critical method. In other words, Christ Himself, as we confess Him within the Eucharistic Assembly, is our first principle and our hermeneutical theory. We don't read Scripture to find the historical Jesus, but to actually personally experience the crucified and risen Christ in our own hearts.