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Apostles of Revolution? Marxism and Biblical Studies

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Biblical Interpretation
Author:
Christina Petterson University of Copenhagen

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Abstract

Marxist analysis of the bible is spreading, but clarity about what constitutes Marxist readings and Marxist categories of analysis is lacking. This lack of clarity is compounded by the different strands and factions within Marxist politics, which have subtle resonances in biblical scholarship. These issues are canvassed in the first part of the article. The major focus of the article, however, is the collaboration between biblical studies and liberal ideology, which is examined in two ways. First, by presenting and discussing some of the central Marxist categories of analysis, namely history, ideology and class, and how these categories have been co-opted into biblical studies and in the process lost their radical edge. Second, by discussing the emergence of the discipline of biblical studies during the Enlightenment, and to what extent the containment strategies of biblical studies overlap with those of liberalism and capitalism.

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