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CHAPTER 1. General Introduction

Rebecca Lemon, Emma Mason and Jonathan Roberts

Subject Literature, Religion

Key-Topics Bible

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131605.2009.00001.x


“The Bible and literature” is a more specific field than it might first appear, and differs significantly from the ostensibly similar fields of: (a) “literature and theology”; (b) “Christianity and literature”; (c) “religion and literature”; and (d) “the Bible as literature.” We begin by taking a moment to differentiate these projects as a means to showing where this volume sits in relation to them. A writer can be theologically complex but have comparatively little of the Bible in his or her work (for example, T. S. Eliot), or, by contrast, may freely deploy biblical allusion but have little obvious theology (such as Virginia Woolf). For this reason there is only a partial intersection between “theology and literature” and “the Bible and literature.” Studies within the former field are often strongly theorized, not least because of the symbiotic relationship between literary studies and theology. The theo-philosophical work of thinkers such as Paul Tillich, Paul Ricoeur, Hans Georg Gadamer, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous, and Martin Buber, for example, has foreshadowed a modern theoretical re-evaluation of literature that in turn has given way to a renewed interest in religious questions. The religiously inflected critical inquiry of writers such as Geoffrey Hartman, Luce Irigaray, J. Hillis Miller, Terry Eagleton, and John Schad has developed this tradition ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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