‘He is a Glutton and a Drunkard’: Deviant Consumption in the Hebrew Bible Rebekah Welton uses interdisciplinary approaches to explore the social and ritual roles of food and alcohol in Late Bronze Age to Persian-period Syro-Palestine (1550 BCE–400 BCE). This contextual backdrop throws into relief episodes of consumption deemed to be excessive or deviant by biblical writers. Welton emphasises the social networks of the household in which food was entangled, arguing that household animals and ritual foodstuffs were social agents, challenging traditional understandings of sacrifice. For the first time, the accusation of being a ‘glutton and a drunkard’ (Deut 21:18-21) is convincingly re-interpreted in its alimentary and socio-ritual contexts.
Children and Methods: Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World, Kristine Henriksen Garroway and John W. Martens bring together an interdisciplinary collection of essays addressing children in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and broader ancient world. While the study of children has been on the rise in a number of fields, the methodologies by which we listen to and learn from children in ancient Judaism and Christianity have not been critically examined.
This collection of essays proposes that while the various lenses of established methods of higher criticism offer insight into the lives of children, by filtering these methods through the new field of Childist Criticism, children can be heard and seen in a new light.
In this book, Stephen Lim offers a contextual way of reading biblical texts that reconceptualises context as an epistemic space caught between the modern/colonial world system and local networks of knowledge production. In this light, he proposes a multicentric dialogical approach that takes into account the privilege of specialist readers in relation to nonspecialist readers. At the same time, he rethinks what dialogue with the Other means in a particular context, which then decides the conversation partners brought in from the margins. This is applied to his context in Singapore through a reading of Daniel where perspectives from western biblical scholarship, Asian traditions and Singaporean cultural products are brought together to dialogue on issues of transformative praxis and identity formation.
Wom(b)an: A Cultural-Narrative Reading of the Hebrew Bible Barrenness Narratives Janice Pearl Ewurama De-Whyte offers a reading of the Hebrew Bible barrenness narratives. The original word “wom(b)an” visually underscores the centrality of a productive womb to female identity in the ANE and Hebrew contexts. Conversely, barrenness was the ultimate tragedy and shame of a woman. Utilizing Akan cultural custom as a lens through which to read the Hebrew barrenness tradition, De-Whyte uncovers another kind of barrenness within these narratives. Her term “social barrenness” depicts the various situations of childlessness that are generally unrecognized in western cultures due to the western biomedical definitions of infertility. Whether biological or social, barrenness was perceived to be the greatest threat to a woman’s identity and security as well as the continuity of the lineage.
Wom(b)an examines these narratives in light of the cultural meanings of barrenness within traditional cultures, ancient and present.
The author analyzes the poetic songs of biblical Lamentations with oral-poetic folkloric method for the first time with surprising results. Contemporary lament poems are then compared from recent post-war Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina about suffering in cities under siege.
Oral-poetic and socio-rhetorical methods illumine two lead singers in dialogue in a mourning context, employing formulas and themes of dirge, psalmic and prophetic traditions in their compositions, but infusing these with their individual artistry to respond to Jerusalem’s destruction.
Poets through history and across cultures share common ground in how they render the suffering of their war-torn cities. The prophet Jeremiah emerges in Lamentations as one lead singer by virtue of how he modifies traditional formulas (imagery, themes, terms) in response to the context. A woman emerges as another lead singer who pushes the limits of current theology in crisis.