A Contemporary Exegesis At the Edges of Chaos

in Religion and Theology
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Abstract

Biblical exegesis continues to work under the aegis of assumptions that have been associated with it since the late critical period. I identify primary ones: a posture of objectivity toward the biblical text that purports simply to find in the text what is already there and an approach to the text that abstracts it from the real life experience of human persons. Using socio-rhetorical analysis, I show how ideological analysis undercuts the first assumption, that of passivity toward the text and false modesty toward the exegetical process. Using the same analysis, I show how it is possible to re-enflesh the text to overcome the second problem. This re-enfleshment leads me to reflect on ways that socio-rhetorical analysis accords with contemporary scientific explorations of 'complexity, which emerges on the edge of chaos. I conclude with a call to adopt exegetical practices that can exist on and grow with such a complexity and to see the shortcomings of those practices that adopt an artificial truncation of the process, a truncation that can only be understood as 'death'in contrast with 'life'.

A Contemporary Exegesis At the Edges of Chaos

in Religion and Theology

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