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Exegesis in the Making

Postcolonialism and New Testament Studies

Anna Runesson

The last thirty years have witnessed increasing diversity in methodology and perspectives within
biblical studies. One of the most dynamic and continually expanding contributions to this
development is that of postcolonial studies, known for its fresh approaches as well as for its
complex theoretical foundations. The present book aims at introducing both student and scholar to
this emerging field. Part One discusses in a structured and pedagogical way the theoretical location
of postcolonial biblical studies as well as its critique of and contributions to New Testament
exegesis more specifically. Part Two presents five articles by scholars from Africa, Asia, and North
America, illustrating the diversity of current postcolonial studies as applied to individual New
Testament texts.

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Ian Wilson

This essay offers an introduction to select disciplinary developments in the study of history and in historical study of the Hebrew Bible. It focuses first and foremost on “cultural history,” a broad category defined by nineteenth- and twentieth-century developments in anthropology and sociology, literary theory and linguistics, and other fields of study. The first part of the essay comments on developments since the so-called “linguistic turn,” highlighting some key works on culture, narrative, and memory, in order to establish a contemporary historical approach to biblical studies. It then turns to questions of the Hebrew Bible’s usefulness for historical study, and highlights studies of King David and the Davidic polity in ancient Israel/Judah, to show how scholars of the Bible have done historical work in recent years. And finally, it provides a case study of the book of Joshua, demonstrating how historians can utilize biblical texts as sources for cultural history.

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Harvey E. Goldberg

Interchange between anthropology and biblical scholarship began because of perceived similarities between “simpler” societies and practices appearing in the Hebrew Bible. After some disengagement when anthropologists turned mainly to ethnographic fieldwork, new cross-disciplinary possibilities opened up when structuralism emerged in anthropology. Ritual and mythology were major topics receiving attention, and some biblical scholars partially adopted structuralist methods. In addition, anthropological research extended to complex societies and also had an impact upon historical studies. Modes of interpretation developed that reflected holistic perspectives along with a sensibility to ethnographic detail. This essay illustrates these trends in regard to rituals and to notions of purity in the Hebrew Bible, as well as to the place of literacy in Israelite society and culture. After discussing these themes, three examples of structuralist-inspired analysis are presented which in different ways take into account historical and literacy-based facets of the Bible.

Sola Scriptura

Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Scripture, Authority, and Hermeneutics

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Edited by Hans Burger, Arnold Huijgen and Eric Peels

Sola Scriptura offers a multi-disciplinary reflection on the theme of the priority and importance of Scripture in theology, from historical, biblical-theological and systematic-theological perspectives, aiming at the interaction between exegesis and dogmatics. Brian Brock and Kevin J. Vanhoozer offer concluding reflections on the theme, bringing the various contributions together.

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Steed Vernyl Davidson

Examining the legacies of European imperialism, Steed Vernyl Davidson traces how the Bible reflects strong affinities with empire and provides on-going justifications for empire and concentrations of power. Writing/Reading the Bible in Postcolonial Perspective traces the evolution of the Bible from its production in empires of antiquity to its supportive role in the development of modern imperialism. The work also engages the ambiguities of the Bible as anti-imperial tool. Set within an examination of postcolonial studies as a revolutionary and revisionary discourse, this work presses for a more vigorous postcolonializing of the Bible in Biblical Studies. A description of the contemporary features and manifestation of empire forms the context within which further exploration of postcolonial biblical critical work can take place. Following an assessment of previous work in the field, the challenges of intersectional work with queer studies, terrorism studies, technology, and ecological studies are laid out as future tasks

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Jennifer L. Koosed

This work provides a brief introduction to feminist interpretation of scripture. Feminist interpretation is first grounded in feminism as an intellectual and political movement. Next, this introduction briefly recounts the origins of feminist readings of the Bible with attention to both early readings and the beginnings of feminist biblical scholarship in the academy. Feminist biblical scholarship is not a single methodology, but rather an approach that can shape any reading method. As a discipline, it began with literary-critical readings (especially of the Hebrew Bible) but soon also broached questions of women’s history (especially in the New Testament and Christian origins). Since these first forays, feminist interpretation has influenced almost every type of biblical scholarship. The third section of this essay, then, looks at gender archaeology, feminist poststructuralism and postcolonial readings, and newer approaches informed by gender and queer theory. Finally, it ends by examining feminist readings of Eve.

Masculinity and the Bible

Survey, Models, and Perspectives

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Peter-Ben Smit

Most characters in the Bible are men, yet they are hardly analysed as such. Masculinity and the Bible provides the first comprehensive survey of approaches that remedy this situation. These are studies that utilize insights from the field of masculinity studies to further biblical studies. The volume offers a representative overview of both fields and presents a new exegesis of a well-known biblical text (Mark 6) to show how this approach leads to new insights.

By presenting the field of masculinity studies, the volume performs a service for those working in biblical studies and related disciplines, but have not explored this approach yet. At the same time, the volume shows, by surveying the past two decades of publications in the field, what results have been achieved so far and where open questions remain. In the exegesis of Mark 6, it becomes clear that one of these challenges, the often very specific and intersectional character of masculinity, can be addressed successfully when consciously combining approaches such as narrative and ritual analyses.

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Stephen C. Russell

In this brief volume, written for professional biblical scholars and graduate students being trained in Bible, Stephen C. Russell introduces the reader to the interdisciplinary study of space and its related concepts, including land, territory, border, frontier, nature, scale, spatial flows, and rhythm. He offers a synopsis of eight approaches to the study of space that have been influential in the humanities and social sciences in recent decades—sacred, legal, political, economic, ecological, visual, social, and urban approaches. He pays special attention to Henri Lefebvre’s treatment of social space as a social product. The volume also briefly notes some of the work being done by biblical scholars in conversation with spatial studies.

1 John, 2 John, 3 John

A Pentecostal Commentary

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John Christopher Thomas

This commentary, written from a distinctively Pentecostal perspective is primarily for pastors, lay persons and Bible students. It is based upon the best scholarship, written in popular language, and communicates the meaning of the text with minimal technical distractions. The author offers a running exposition on the text and extended comments on matters of special significance for Pentecostals. He acknowledges and interacts with alternative interpretations of individual passages, and his commentary also provides periodic opportunities for reflection upon and personal response to the biblical text.

The Sense of Quoting

A Semiotic Case Study of Biblical Quotations

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David W. Odell-Scott

In The Sense of Quoting, Odell-Scott argues that the neutral continuous script of ancient manuscripts of the Greek New Testament composed with no punctuation and no spacing provided readers discretionary authority to determine and assess the status of phrases as they articulate a cohesive and coherent reading of the script. The variety of reading renditions each differently scored with punctuation supported the production of quotations. These cultivated and harvested quotes while useful for authorizing sectarian discourse, rarely convey the sense of the phrase in the continuous script. Augustine’s work on punctuating the scriptures in service to the production of plainer quotable passages in support of the rule of faith is addressed. Odell-Scott’s textual analysis of a plainer quotable passage at verse 7:1b concerning male celibacy supports his thesis that plainer passages are the product of interpretative scoring of the script in service to discursive endeavours. To quote is often to misquote.