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Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention?

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Authorship and Meaning

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Edited by Clarissa Breu

In Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention? Interdisciplinary Approaches to Authorship and Meaning, Clarissa Breu offers interdisciplinary contributions to the question of the author in biblical interpretation with a focus on “death of the author” theory. The wide range of approaches represented in the volume comprises mostly postmodern theory (e. g. Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Paul de Man, Julia Kristeva and Gilles Deleuze), but also the implied author and intentio operis. Furthermore, psychology, choreography, reader-response theories and anthropological studies are reflected. Inasmuch as the contributions demonstrate that biblical studies could utilize significantly more differentiated views on the author than are predominantly presumed within the discipline, it is an invitation to question the importance and place attributed to the author.
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The Arnhem Mystical Sermons

Preaching Liturgical Mysticism in the Context of Catholic Reform

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Ineke Cornet

In The Arnhem Mystical Sermons: Preaching Liturgical Mysticism in the Context of Catholic Reform, Ineke Cornet presents the first in-depth study of this sermon collection from the canonnesses of St. Agnes in Arnhem. Through a careful analysis of sources and parallels, this book demonstrates how the sermons creatively integrate both Rhineland and Brabantine mysticism into a unique commentary on the liturgical year. The sermons, which contribute to the Catholic Reform, systematically explore the mystical celebration of the liturgy which underpins every aspect of the collection’s theology of inner ascent. Together with the Evangelical Pearl and the Temple of Our Soul, the sermons are part of a wider literary network that plays a significant part in the history of Dutch mysticism.
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Arts, Religion, and the Environment

Exploring Nature's Texture

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Edited by Sigurd Bergmann and Forrest J. Clingerman

Humans have been described as “meaning-making animals.” At the threshold of the Anthropocene, how might humans artistically envision their place in the world? Do humans possess cultural tools, which will allow us to imagine new possibilities and relationships with the natural environment at a time when our material surroundings are under siege?
Exploring Nature’s Texture looks at the imaginative possibilities of using the visual arts to address the breakdown of the human relationship with the environment. Bringing together contributions from artists, theologians, anthropologists and philosophers, it investigates the arts as a bridge between culture and nature, as well as between the human and more-than-human world.

Contributors: Whitney A. Bauman, Sigurd Bergmann, Forrest Clingerman, Timothy M. Collins, J. Sage Elwell, Reiko Goto, Arto Haapala, Tim Ingold, Karolina Sobecka, George Steinmann
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A Dialogue between Haizi’s Poetry and the Gospel of Luke

Chinese Homecoming and the Relationship with Jesus Christ

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Xiaoli Yang

In A Dialogue between Haizi’s Poetry and the Gospel of Luke Xiaoli Yang offers a conversation between the Chinese soul-searching found in Haizi’s (1964–1989) poetry and the gospel of Jesus Christ through Luke’s testimony. It creates a unique contextual poetic lens that appreciates a generation of the Chinese homecoming journey through Haizi’s poetry, and explores its relationship with Jesus Christ. As the dialogical journey, it names four stages of homecoming—roots, vision, journey and arrival. By taking an interdisciplinary approach—literary study, inter-cultural dialogue and comparative theology, Xiaoli Yang convincingly demonstrates that the common language between the poet Haizi and the Lukan Jesus provides a crucial and rich source of data for an ongoing table conversation between culture and faith.
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The Plot-structure of Genesis

‘Will the Righteous Seed Survive?’ in the Muthos-logical Movement from Complication to Dénouement

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Todd L. Patterson

In The Plot-structure of Genesis Todd L. Patterson argues that Genesis is organized by a development from complication to dénouement. The question 'Will the righteous seed survive?' drives the narrative to climax. Gen 4 sets up the complication. Cain and Abel are the seed of the woman who should lead humanity back to God's creation-sanctuary. Because Cain does not master sin, his unrighteousness threatens the survival of the seed. Each narrative tôlĕdôt division develops this theme until dénouement in the Joseph narrative when God ensures the survival of the promised seed.

By showing how plot integrates with the widely recognized tôlĕdôt structure, prominent motifs, and enigmatic features of the text, Todd L. Patterson provides a surprisingly novel interpretation of Genesis.
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The Scriptural Tale in the Fourth Gospel

With Particular Reference to the Prologue and a Syncretic (Oral and Written) Poetics

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Edward H. Gerber

A more nuanced view of the Fourth Gospel’s media nature suggests a new and promising paradigm for assessing expansive and embedded uses of scripture in this work. The majority of studies exploring the Fourth Evangelist’s use of scripture to date have approached the Fourth Gospel as the product of a highly gifted writer, who carefully interweaves various elements and figures from scripture into the canvas of his completed document. The present study attempts to calibrate a literary approach to the Fourth Gospel’s use of scripture with an appreciation for oral poetic influences, whereby an orally-situated composer’s use of traditional references and compositional strategy could be of one and the same piece. Most importantly, pre-formed story-patterns—thick with referential meaning—were used in the construction of new works. The present study makes the case that the Fourth Evangelist has patterned his story of Jesus after a retelling of the story of Adam & Israel in two interrelated ways: first in the prologue, and then in the body of the Gospel as a whole.
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Edited by Dirk-Martin Grube

Interpretation and Meaning in Philosophy and Religion synthesizes cutting-edge philosophical reflections on interpretation with their application to religion. For this, new theoretical insights on interpretation by Krausz, Lamarque, Leddy, Hagberg, and Gibson are examined. Topics cover multiplism (i.e. interpretative pluralism), the goal of interpretation and its starting point. These concepts are then studied in relation to the practice of interpreting religious texts. For example, Grube proposes that the action-relevance of religious interpretations limits the possibility of tolerating divergent interpretations, Karrer-Grube challenges Lamarque’s insistence on a firm starting point, and Gokhale challenges Krausz by arguing that Vedantic practices of interpretation are non-multiplist.
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Gender Justice in Muslim-Christian Readings

Christian and Muslim Women in Norway: Making Meaning of Texts from the Bible, the Koran, and the Hadith

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Anne Hege Grung

In recent decades, women in the Christian and Islamic traditions have been negotiating what it means to participate in religious practice as a woman within the two traditions, and how to interpret canonical scripture. This book creates a shared space for Muslim and Christian women with diverse cultural and denominational backgrounds, by making meaning of texts from the Bible, the Koran, and the Hadith. It builds on the reading and discussion of the Hagar narratives, as well as 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and Sura 4:34 from the New Testament and the Koran respectively, by a group of both Christian and Muslim women. Interpretative strategies and contextual analyses emerge from the hermeneutical analysis of the women’s discussions on the ambiguous contributions of the texts mentioned above to the traditional views on women.
This book shows how intertextual dialogue between the Christian and Islamic traditions establishes an interpretative community through the encounter of Christian and Muslim readers. The negotiation between a search for gender justice and the Christian and Islamic traditions as lived religions is extended into a quest for gender justice through the co-reading of texts. In times when gender and the status of women are played into the field of religious identity politics, this book shows that bringing female readers together to explore the canonical texts in the two traditions provides new insights about the texts, the contexts, and the ways in which Muslim-Christian dialogue can provide complex and promising hermeneutical space where important questions can be posed and shared strategies found.
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In Good Company

The Body and Divinization in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ and Daoist Xiao Yingsou

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Bede Benjamin Bidlack

In Good Company answers a question that has confounded Christian theologians: What is the nature of the body that will enjoy resurrection at the end of time? In this exciting work of comparative theology, Bede Benjamin Bidlack derives a theory of the body from the French Jesuit, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, by putting him in dialogue with the Song Dynasty Daoist Xiao Yingsou. In addition to its contribution to comparative theology, In Good Company offers the first translation of the preface of Xiao’s commentary on the Duren jing in a Western language, as well as a careful explication of the provocative mountain diagram therein. Bidlack presents an original contribution for both scholars of Christian theology and Chinese religion.

“An excellent example of comparative theology, Bede Bidlack’s In Good Company demonstrates how certain lacunae in one tradition may be addressed by drawing on resources from another religion. Having identified a neglect of the body in the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and in much of the Christian tradition of divinization, Bidlack discusses the work of Daoist scholar Xiao Yingsou as a possible source of inspiration and theological imagination.”
– Catherine Cornille,
Newton College Alumnae Chair,
Professor of Comparative Theology,
Boston College

In Good Company takes comparative theology to a new level: it not only places Daoism front and center, but also opens Christian spirituality to a wider dimension. Concerned with the two core themes of the body and personal divinization (or resurrection), the book centers on the work of two influential thinkers in their traditions: Teilhard de Chardin and Xiao Yingsou. Although 800 years apart, their visions of the body as the
means to ultimate fulfillment, in close relation to divinity and the cosmos as a whole, powerfully enhance each other, as do their understanding of the intricate process of personal divinization. The book is challenging in its outlook, unsettling in its destabilization of terms, and brilliant in its interweaving of the two traditions. A must for anyone concerned with the new global environment of religious pluralism and the ongoing process of
interreligious dialogue.”

– Livia Kohn, Professor
Emerita of Religion & East Asian Studies,
Boston University
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Jeremy Punt

In Postcolonial biblical interpretation Jeremy Punt reflects on the nature and value of the postcolonial hermeneutical approach, as it relates to the interpretation of biblical and in particular, Pauline texts. Showing when a socio-politically engaged reading becomes postcolonial, but also what in the term postcolonial both attracts and also creates distance, exegesis from a postcolonial perspective is profiled. The book indicates possible avenues in how postcolonial work can be helpful theoretically to the guild of biblical scholars and to show also how it can be practiced in exegetical work done on biblical texts.