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Interdisciplinary Approaches to Authorship and Meaning
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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.
In: Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention?
Author:

Abstract

This chapter deals with the question of in what ways an author-name can be part of exegesis in the aftermath of Derrida’s and Foucault’s theories on authorship. It compares the function of an author-name to hashtags that do not point directly to an author’s intention as the origin of a text’s meaning. Instead, they situate an individual author in a larger referential system and thus classify different texts under the label of an author-name. They work without the original author and his or her intentions. The paper applies this theoretical framework to the name “John” in the Apocalypse of John. In a second step, the same framework is tested on other (author-) names in New Testament texts like the “Beloved Disciple” in John, the name “Paul” in pseudepigraphic letters and the label “Theophilus” in Luke and Acts. All in all, the chapter investigates possible ways to integrate postmodern theories of authorship into exegetical discourse.

In: Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention?
In: Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention?
Author:

Abstract

This chapter deals with the question of in what ways an author-name can be part of exegesis in the aftermath of Derrida’s and Foucault’s theories on authorship. It compares the function of an author-name to hashtags that do not point directly to an author’s intention as the origin of a text’s meaning. Instead, they situate an individual author in a larger referential system and thus classify different texts under the label of an author-name. They work without the original author and his or her intentions. The paper applies this theoretical framework to the name “John” in the Apocalypse of John. In a second step, the same framework is tested on other (author-) names in New Testament texts like the “Beloved Disciple” in John, the name “Paul” in pseudepigraphic letters and the label “Theophilus” in Luke and Acts. All in all, the chapter investigates possible ways to integrate postmodern theories of authorship into exegetical discourse.

In: Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention?
Author:

Abstract

In John 20:11–18, Mary Magdalene meets Jesus after his death. She turns around twice, a double gesture that has puzzled New Testament scholars. In this article, I offer a performative reading of Mary Magdalene’s turns based on Judith Butler’s theory of gesture and the literary inventory of ancient recognition scenes. I argue that the double gesture does not emphasize the difference between a physical and an inner status of recognition. Instead, it is conceived as a non-identical repetition or quotation. It points to other turnings and other duplicities. Both turns are part of a performative process that unfolds the new identities of the main characters after their separation. Mary is not portrayed as a misunderstanding disciple who needs two turns to recognize Jesus, but as part of a reciprocal process that mirrors Jesus’ double appearance and the text’s double layers of meaning.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
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Abstract

The sacrificial story in Genesis 22:1–19, the Aqeda or “Binding of Isaac,” has generated a large body of research literature. This is due to its irresolvable ambiguity: God commands the sacrifice of Isaac and stops it. The reader is not informed about reasons or intentions of the characters involved. After analyzing some possible approaches to the text’s ambiguity, I offer a new performative reading of the passage with Giorgio Agamben’s and Judith Butler’s theories of gesture. I argue that this approach effectively deals with ambiguity, because it neither erases violence nor justifies it. It rather exposes violence by interrupting and redirecting it. Abraham’s raised hand with the knife thus becomes an interrupted gesture. It makes the text a monument to violence that teaches to see the same situation in a different light and to interrupt the continuous repetition of violent behaviour.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society