Receptions and Transformations of the Bible

Receptions and Transformations of the Bible

Receptions and Transformations of the Bible

Receptions and Transformations of the Bible

Excerpt

Religion and normativity. Receptions and transformations of the Bible is the second volume in a 3–volume work, the result of inter-disciplinary studies at the Faculty of Theology, Aarhus University from 2005 to 2008. During this period a large number of faculty members worked on the subject of “Religion and Normativity” as a specific research priority area involving three themes. The first was “The discursive struggle over religious texts in antiquity” (Volume I), which focuses on the construction of normative texts in early Christianity and Judaism and is followed by a discussion of the authoritative interpretation of the canon and the rewriting of normative texts in new situations. The subject for the second group was “The Bible and literature: Reception and Transformation” (Volume II), with the sub-title “Receptions and transformations of the Bible”. With the Bible as their common starting-point, partly in the Jewish and partly in the Christian tradition, some contributors to this volume have worked on the reception and transformation that takes place in and through literature, while others have concentrated on the role that the Bible has played in both philosophical thought and religious practice. The third group, “Religion, politics and law” (Volume III), has focused on the question of religious authority in a broader social context, and in particular on a fundamental philosophical appraisal of our current understanding of democracy in the relationship between state, church and religion in a multi-cultural society.

Normativity

In the course of the research project the three groups drew up a working definition of the concept of normativity: ‘A (religious) norm is a precept/model concerned with an interpretation of life and/or practice whose binding character is built on a socially accepted authority.’ This working definition has provided the focus for the studies and thereby served to raise such questions as: How does a religious norm come to be experienced as binding for individuals or groups? What is it that defines it as ‘binding’? Does the Bible still have a normative function, or has literature, for example, taken over as the setter of norms and the creator of identity?

1 This introduction has been translated by Edward Broadbridge.

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