God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality

God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality

God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality

God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality

Synopsis

Focusing on texts in the Hebrew Bible, and using feminist hermeneutics, Phyllis Trible brings out what she considers to be neglected themes and counter literature.After outlining her method in more detail, she begins by highlighting the feminist imagery used for God; then she moves on to traditions embodying male and female within the context of the goodness of creation. If Genesis 2-3 is a love story gone awry, the Song of Songs is about sexuality redeemed in joy. In between lies the book of Ruth, with its picture of the struggles of everyday life.

Excerpt

Biblical theology has been a significant part of modern study of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Prior to the ascendancy of historical criticism of the Bible in the nineteenth century, biblical theology was subordinated to the dogmatic concerns of the churches, and the Bible too often provided a storehouse of rigid proof texts. When biblical theology was cut loose from its moorings to dogmatic theology to become an enterprise seeking its own methods and categories, attention was directed to what the Bible itself had to say. A dogmatic concern was replaced by an historical one so that biblical theology was understood as an investigation of what was believed by different communities in different situations. By the end of the nineteenth century biblical theology was virtually equated with the history of the religion of the authors who produced biblical documents or of the communities which used them.

While these earlier perspectives have become more refined and sophisticated, they still describe the parameters of what is done in the name of biblical theology—moving somewhere between the normative statements of dogmatic theology and the descriptive concerns of the history of religions. Th. Vriezen, in his An Outline of Old Testament Theology (Dutch, 1949; ET, 1958), sought to combine these concerns by devoting the first half of his book to historical considerations and the second half to theological themes. But even that effort did not break out of the stalemate of categories. In more recent times Old Testament theology has been dominated by two paradigmatic works. In his Theology of the Old Testament (German, 1933–39; ET, 1967) W. Eichrodt has provided a comprehensive statement around fixed categories which reflect classical dogmatic interests, although the centrality . . .

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