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Abstract

Recent research on disability and the Bible has made distinctive contributions to the field of biblical studies. Most work in this area focuses on representations of disability in the Bible, biblical language related to disability, or biblical themes that can be used for theologies of disability. This article proposes that scholars broaden the scope of this research by drawing on a disability consciousness to interpret texts that do not ostensibly discuss disability or disability-related themes. As a case study, this essay examines Philippians 3:2–11 in light of contemporary debates about cochlear implantation, and it argues that discourse about cochlear implants can inform debates about the ethno-religious identities of Paul and the Philippians. In so doing, the interpretive exercise supports the larger, hermeneutical thesis that a disability consciousness can yield insights into biblical passages—and related scholarly interests—that do not explicitly concern disability or themes commonly related to disability.

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Nathan Chambers

Abstract

A number of scholars have praised the work of René Girard as opening a way forward for biblical interpretation. This essay seeks to test the utility of Girard’s theories by applying them to a close reading of 2 Samuel 21:1–14. It concludes that Girard’s work draws attention to certain neglected themes but is unable to account for the narrative of 2 Samuel 21 in its final form.

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Kengo Akiyama

Abstract

This article problematizes the common distinction between production and reception in biblical studies with Septuagint study as a case in point. The article illustrates the problem in connection with two recent, major translation projects, A New English Translation of the Septuagint and Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included under That Title and La Bible d’Alexandrie. I argue that the binary classification of production and reception is inadequate to capture the textual history of the Septuagint and suggest an alternative way to conceptualize the development.

In: Biblical Interpretation

Abstract

In this article, I aim to read Onan’s action in Gen 38 not simply as an act of transgression but also as a form of resistance to oppressive structures. I will demonstrate that Onan is resisting the dominating structure of levirate marriage that was strongly connected with patriarchy, heteronormativity, and hegemonic masculinity. To support this argument, I divide this article into three parts. First, I revisit the earlier interpretations of Onan’s narrative. Then, I explain Onan’s situational context and discuss the possibility of reading his narrative through the postcolonial, queer, and gender-critical lenses. Finally, I conclude that Onan’s action is an act of resistance toward oppressing systems of culture and that his act takes into account Tamar’s interest in achieving proper livelihood.

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Eric X. Jarrard

Abstract

This essay argues that both Daniel 7 and the film Get Out render the respective political status quo of their times in monstrous form, and use the horror narrative to dramatize their struggles against these monstrous political hegemonies. Comparing the two in this way reveals notable trans-temporal commonalities between groups forced to reckon with their socio-political disenfranchisement, with both works externalizing their respective social anxieties by fictionalizing their oppressor in monstrous form. These texts function comparably as creative expressions of political resistance in their respective eras by serving to empower oppressed groups. They do so by postulating an imagined escape from tyrannical structures of political abuse through the crystallization or manifestation of their fear of those structures in monstrous form. Part one of this essay identifies and analyzes the monstrous beings in Daniel 7 and Get Out, concentrating on the physical and spatial characteristics. Part two describes the historical and cultural specificity of these monsters and the productive value of their affect. The final part of this essay explores how a comparison of Daniel 7 and Get Out not only challenges the relative capaciousness of horror theory, but also helps us to better access the ambiguous rhetorical shaping of the biblical text. In sum, I will argue that both Daniel 7 and Get Out confront our existing notions of what horror is, how it functions, and the work it can do.

In: Biblical Interpretation

Abstract

In Joshua’s opening military salvo at Jericho (6:8–21), he institutes a strange, oft-overlooked act of communal speechlessness. This absence of speech can be understood as itself a kind of ritual speech. As this paper will argue, Joshua can kill things with and without words. When seen against a backdrop of Near Eastern magic and divine warfare, Joshua emerges as a powerful ritualist, someone who weaponizes speech and speechlessness in service of military victory. As with Joshua’s adjuration in the Aijalon battle (10:12–14) and his curse over Jericho (6:26), his wordless march around the city can be understood as a ritual act with the performative force of cessation. The silencing of the land is both his ritual objective and the ultimate goal of conquest (11:23).

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Mark Goodacre

Abstract

Erasure History is a subset of the discipline of counter-factual history, an exploration in imagining history without a work that scholars see as pivotal. Erasing Mark’s gospel provides a fruitful thought experiment about the key role it plays in current scholarly reflections on Christian origins. This article imagines the erasure of Mark under three different headings. First, Mark is erased from the surviving manuscript record, imagining that Mark was indeed written and that it was a source for Matthew and Luke, but that no witness to it survived antiquity. Second, Mark is erased from history only to resurface in a handful of manuscript fragments in the 1890s and 1900s, and a more complete textual witness in 1945. Finally, and most drastically, the article imagines that the boy who grew up to be the author of Mark’s gospel did not survive childhood and that his gospel never existed.

In: Biblical Interpretation

Whether one calls it a mode or a genre, the scholarly exercise of biblical theology has been the site of disputed territory ever since its emergence. Three recent entries into this ongoing conversation provide some interesting insight into its current state of affairs. While Konrad Schmid (A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible) attempts to offer a definitive work along the lines of the biblical theologies offered by Gerhard von Rad or Walter Brueggemann, Barry Jones (Gaining a Heart of Wisdom: A Model for Theological Interpretation of Scripture) provides a smaller plea for a detente

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology
Author: Gregory Goswell

Abstract

Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs are routinely juxtaposed (in different orders and combinations) in the Hebrew and Greek OT canons. The implication of their propinquity is that the books were viewed by early readers as belonging together and mutually enriching. The regular collation of these five books means that they were treated as primary conversation partners, whose interaction took hermeneutical precedence over other possible intra-canonical links. Irrespective of whether it is decided that these generically diverse texts are to be designated a “wisdom collection,” contemporary readers of Scripture will benefit by taking into consideration that the books were placed together by ancient readers who viewed them as needing to be read in relation to each other.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology

Ryan D. Harker and Heather L. Bunce (eds.), The Earth Is the Lord’s: Essays on Creation and the Bible in Honor of Ben C. Ollenburger. University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2019. xvii + 230 pages, ISBN: 9781575069937 (pbk.), $44.95.

Anyone familiar with scholarly discussions of Biblical Theology in the last thirty years or so will know the name Ben C. Ollenburger. For many of us, the 1992 collection of classic readings gathered and edited by Ollenburger, Elmer A. Martens, and Gerhard F. Hansel entitled The Flowering of Old Testament: A Reader in Twentieth-Century Old Testament Theology,

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology