Poststructuralism and the New Testament: Derrida and Foucault at the Foot of the Cross

By Castelli, Elizabeth A. | Interpretation, July 1996 | Go to article overview

Poststructuralism and the New Testament: Derrida and Foucault at the Foot of the Cross


Castelli, Elizabeth A., Interpretation


"IN THE CONTEXT of biblical studies, poststructuralism would be historical criticism's id, the seat of its strongest antiauthoritarian instincts-historical criticism unfettered at last from the ecclesiastical superego that has always compelled it to genuflect before the icons it had come to destroy." So ends Moore's latest offering from the heady regions of poststructuralist theorizing about biblical texts. The volume is a blend: part intellectual autobiography, part "Derrida, Foucault, and Lacan for Beginners," part meta-critique of the reigning assumptions of dominant "literary" approaches to the Bible, and part close and clever readings of selected New Testament texts. Refusing the impossible task of producing an introductory handbook to poststructuralism, Moore has instead written a poststructuralist text, following the leads of Derrida, and others, in putting the reading of texts at the center of theorizing about interpretation.

Moore's readings are-as we have come to expect from him-highly original, enormously engaging, and inevitably possessed of equal measures of cleverness and persuasion. Those unfamiliar with poststructuralism's critical potential for biblical studies will find Moore's style inviting and his insights provocative. Those already engaged with poststructuralist and deconstructive practices, especially those who raise explicit political and ethical questions, may feel a nagging longing for more direct links to the political and ethical. …

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