Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation

Article excerpt

Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation. Edited by A. K. M. Adam. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2000. xii + 322 pp. $29.99 (paper).

The Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation offers readers introductory essays on postmodernism and biblical interpretation. It is organized alphabetically, beginning with an essay on "anti-postmodernism" and ending with an essay on "truth." In between A and T are essays on key postmodern themes such as "author," "culture," "deconstruction," "ethics," "fantasy," "historiography," "postcolonialism," "queer theory," 11 race," "trauma" and "sexuality"; and authors such as Bakhtin, Bataille, Certeau, Derrida, Foucault, Iragaray, Kristeva and Lacan. The essays are well written and intended for an audience only superficially familiar with their themes. This Handbook provides an excellent introduction.

The theme or author under consideration is also related to questions of biblical interpretation. Sometimes the tenuous relationship between postmodern thought and biblical interpretation is confessed outright. Thus, in an essay on Blanchot we are told, "In a certain way, Blanchot's thought is useless for literary/biblical interpretation" (p. 39). Other essays find substantive connections between postmodern concerns and biblical theological matters. For instance, Shawn Kelley's analysis of race does much more than simply assert that modernist biblical scholarship has embodied a racialized Eurocentric norm. He also points to how this norm functions in specific themes in biblical interpretation: "orientalist linguistics and philology," the "Hebrew/ Hellene antithesis," the emergence of "form criticism" from a "volkisch nationalism" and the invention of "Africa. …

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