Reconstructing Old Testament Theology: After the Collapse of History

By Leo G. Perdue | Go to book overview

7
From History to Cultural Context:
Postmodernism

There is no power relation without the correlative constitu-
tion of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does
not presuppose and constitute at the same time power
relations.

Michel Foucault


Postmodernism: Tenets and Theorists

THE DOMINANCE OF THE HISTORICAL PARADIGM, REGARDLESS OF the philosophy of history used as its framework, whether positivism, neo-Marxism, or feminism, has been fundamentally challenged epistemologically and linguistically by newer paradigms, including structuralism, poststructuralism, deconstruction, and now, postmodernism, an illusive and elusive term that has a rather extensive array of evocative modulations.1 The central feature of postmodernism is its understandings (or

1. The literature on postmodernism is vast. Several introductions offer entrees into this
complex, comprehensive approach to the reading of texts. These include Hutcheon, A PoetU++00AD
ics of Postmodernism; Jameson, Postmodernism; McGowan, Postmodernism and Its Critics;
Touraine, Critique of Modernity; Harvey, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference;
Frow, Time and Commodity Culture; and Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism. Among
the helpful postmodernist introductions to theology and the Bible, see Postmodern Collec-
tive, The Postmodern Bible; Ward, The Postmodern God; The Blackwell Companion to PostU++00AD
modern Theology; Carroll, "New Historicism and Postmodernism"; Bartholomew, "Reading
the Old Testament in Postmodern Times"; Clines, "The Postmodern Adventure in Biblical
Studies"; Segal and Ryba, "Religion and Postmodernism: A Review Symposium"; and
B. Long, "Ambitions of Dissent." See also Watson, Text, Church and World. A beautifully
written and insightful volume is Keller, Face of the Deep, which sets forth a theology of cre-
ation from chaos. A provocative volume by Beal, Religion and It5 Monsters, also is required
reading. Beal points to the omnipresence of monsters in the texts of Christianity and
Judaism, especially the Scripture, and indicates that religion and monsters are bound
together in ways that provide insight into human nature and existence.

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