Restricted Access

David as Reader

2 Samuel 12:1-15 and the Poetics of Fatherhood

Pyper

Starting from David's response to Nathan's parable in 2 Sam 12, this book employs an original synthesis of literary, linguistic and psychoanalytic theory to explore the impact of the biblical text on its readers. It draws parallels between the relationships of speaker to utterance, texts to reader and father to son in arguing for an underlying "anxiety of utterance" as the source of textual power.
Biblical scholars will find stimulating readings of many problematic narratives as well as a detailed investigation of the poetics of the biblical oath. The theoretical account of the role of characters in mediating the interaction between text and reader will be of interest to all students of literature. Its provocative insights into the relationship between God, language, masculinity and authority raise important questions for theology and gender studies.
Restricted Access

Hugh Pyper

Abstract

Psalm 23 is a remarkable text in its longevity and its permeation of contemporary cultures and in the number of versions in which it circulates. This paper takes it as a pre-eminent example of a 'successful' text in the sense this term is used in neo-Darwinian studies. Richard Dawkins' concept of the meme is used to examine the features of the psalm which ensure both its propagation and its diversity. The polysemy of the metaphor of the lamb is central to this. The text survives, it is argued, because it is is read as offering different models of survival to a variety of reading communities.

Restricted Access

Hugh Pyper

Abstract

Hélène Cixous' engagement with biblical texts is a significant but neglected aspect of her work. In this essay, the biblical allusions in several of her works are traced, particularly centring around the theme of the dog and the bite or wound. The Bible represents for Cixous both an example of the unbounded writing she sees as feminine, and a text that is confined by masculine authority and taboo. These two aspects come together in her engagement with the writings of Clarice Lispector whose grammatically paradoxical phrase in Portuguese eles a biblia—'those he-bible', as translations inadequately represent it—embodies that tension. The tension between these styles of writing in the Bible opens up as a wound in the text which allows a penetration below the surface. The power of the Bible is in the way that this opening lets the reader see 'the meat we are' in an encounter with the 'root' of being.

Restricted Access

Hugh Pyper

Restricted Access

Hugh S. Pyper

Abstract

The story of Nathan's parable in 2 Samuel 12 and the story of David's encounter with the woman of Teqoa in 2 Samuel 14 bear striking structural similarities. In both, the king is enticed into committing himself by an oath in response to a fictional story retailed to him on behalf of a third person. The argument of this paper is that the relationship between the two is parodic; 2 Samuel 14 contains a bathetic reprise of motifs and devices from the earlier story. Once the reader has registered this, the effect is to raise questions as to what is going on in the earlier story. Rereading 2 Samuel 12 in the light of 2 Samuel 14 raises questions about David's capacity to read events clearly. Both stories provide an internal model of text reception, which is complicated by the parodic reflection of the model. Drawing on studies of similar devices in ancient Greek novels, I argue that the result for the reader is to throw into question the categories of reading strategies we apply to the text.

Restricted Access

Edited by Caroline Vander Stichele and Hugh Pyper

Children’s Bibles are often the first encounter people have with the Bible, shaping their perceptions of its stories and characters at an early age. The material under discussion in this book not only includes traditional children’s Bibles but also more recent phenomena such as manga Bibles and animated films for children. The book highlights the complex and even tense relationship between text and image in these Bibles, which is discussed from different angles in the essays. Their shared focus is on the representation of “others”—foreigners, enemies, women, even children themselves—in predominantly Hebrew Bible stories. The contributors are Tim Beal, Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Melody Briggs, Rubén R. Dupertuis, Emma England, J. Cheryl Exum, Danna Nolan Fewell, David M. Gunn, Laurel Koepf, Archie Chi Chung Lee, Jeremy Punt, Hugh S. Pyper, Cynthia M. Rogers, Mark Roncace, Susanne Scholz, Jaqueline S. du Toit, and Caroline Vander Stichele.