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biblical studies


Subject Literature
Ancient Near East Religions » Biblical Studies

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


One of the most important and most controversial developments in biblical studies during the past 20 years has been the influence of literary and C ritical THEORY on the understanding of biblical T exts , the circumstances of their composition, and the history of their interpretation. Myth criticism, feminist theory, S emiotics , S tructuralism , D econstruction , R eader -RESPONSE CRITICISM have all been employed in readings of individual texts, as well as in an attempt to understand Hebrew Scripture, the New Testament, and the Old and New Testaments as a whole. Although Stephen D. Moore has demonstrated that “literary criticism has been a component of biblical criticism almost since its inception” (1989, p. xv), the dismissive phrase “the Bible as literature” has been often used defensively against biblical scholarship that draws on theories and practices of L iterary CRITICISM. This has only partly been the consequence of an opposition between secular literary scholars and practicing Jews and Christians. It has also been the result of a theoretical clash between formalist literary critics determined to find aesthetic unity in every text and textual scholars whose documentary hypothesis leads them to see the Bible as a mosaic of texts composed at different times but later edited into a not quite seamless whole (see Gros Louis, 1982, pp. 13–34). Matthew A rnold set out the terms ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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