Mappings of the Biblical Terrain: The Bible as Text
Twenty-five international biblical scholars and literary theorists apply the most recent methods to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament - literary criticism, semantics, social criticism, theology, narratology, and gender studies. Together they illustrate the healthy variety of recently developed approaches to the text, mappings of the biblical terrain. In previously unpublished articles, scholars provide new theoretical frameworks, while others focus on a close reading of the text. The essays provide fresh insights into important biblical figures - such as Eve, Joseph, Rachel, Ruth, Daniel, and Jesus - and suggest new connections between Judaism and Christianity. The first part, "Contours of Interpretation," deals with literary theories and theories of interpretation. Norman K. Gottwald surveys three areas of scholarly concern - literary-critical practice, social criticism, and theology - which he sees as converging "toward a hermeneutical horizon where all are complementary and mutually enriching aspects of a single biblical landscape." This diversity of theoretical approaches is manifest in essays by Joseph C. Sitterson, Jr. on the New Testament parable, Daniel Boyarin on one type of Midrashic mashal, Lyle Eslinger on narrational situations in the Hebrew Bible, S. N. Rosenbaum on a semantic field theory, and Diane T. Edwards on concepts of literary unity in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Illustrative of the growing importance of new scholarship on gender, the second part - "Voiceprints, Male and Female" - applies new perspectives to the Yahwist narrative of Creation and Fall (Deeanne Westbrook), to patriarchal ideology in the biblical text and in modern biblical scholarship (Esther Fuchs), and to specific figures in the biblical narratives. Ann W. Engar and Raymond-Jean Frontain examine the trickster who possesses a type of intelligence much valued in the ancient world. Gila Ramras-Rauch asks if a protagonist can be regarded as a biblical protagonist in the fullest sense. Ken Friedman finds in the theme of exile a connection between Freudian dream analysis and the dream analysis in the Bible. The final section, "Charts of Biblical Texts," applies contemporoary theories to specific texts. Among the books of the Bible considered are Genesis (Aaron Lichtenstein and Gary A. Rendsburg), Judges (Alexander Globe), Ruth (Vincent L. Tollers), 1 Samuel (John I. Ades), Psalms (Herbert J. Levine), Isaiah (David Lyle Jeffrey and Theodore L. Steinberg), The Wisdom of Solomon (John Bligh), the Gospel of John (John Maier), and Revelation (Leonard L. Thompson and Michael Payne). Chiasm, voice, intertextuality, discourse analysis, the new rhetoric, poetics, narratology, and deconstruction - a new critical vocabulary - and Bakhtin, Derrida, Schussler Fiorenza, Alter, and Kermode - new names in religious studies - define the shape of current research. In illustrating the past decade's shift of critical emphasis, this collection complements Toller's and Maier's 1979 survey of the Bible in its literary milieu. What these essays show is that the dividing line between literary criticism and biblical scholarship has all but disappeared as each group draws from the methods of the other.
Contributors: Norman K. Gottwald, Jospeh C. Sitterson, Jr., Daniel Boyarin, Lyle Eslinger, S. N. Rosnbaum, Diane T. Edwards, Deeanne Westbrook, Esther Fuchs, Ann W. Engar, Gila Ramras-Rauch, Raymond-Jean Frontain, Ken Frieden, Aaron Lichtenstein, Gary A. Rendsburg, Alexander Globe, Vincent L. Tollers, John I. Ades, Herbert J. Levine, David Lyle Jeffrey, Theodore L. Steinberg, John Bligh, John Maier, Leonard L. Thompson, and Michael Payne.
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