A.K.M. Adam Guides to Biblical Scholarship (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), xiv + 81 pp., $10.00 (paper)
For the past two centuries the historical and literary-critical approach to the Bible has shattered many of the pious, comfortable beliefs of an earlier age. The modern emphasis on reason, objectivity and historical change has profoundly altered the way we experience biblical narratives, prophecies and teachings. In the late 20th century, a new group of scholars has begun challenging modern confidence in disinterested historical research into ancient literary genres and social contexts. Postmodern critics undermine the viewpoints of scholars and whole disciplines in order to encourage new, creative uses of texts. They uncover hidden assumptions of both readers and texts by stressing discontinuities, differences and omissions. They demystify modern institutions and their interpretations to reorder experience and tradition in unconventional and disturbing ways. Rather than seeking firm foundations for thought and science and definitive answers for problems, postmodern thinkers defend a multiplicity of meanings, ideologies and discourses. Because these authors are trying to change the way readers think about, look at and experience the world, their writing is often dense, technical and strange. Fortunately, Adam has written a clear, readable, sympathetic account of the major trends in this fast-growing movement. Rather than rehearse the language and summarize the detailed arguments of numerous authors, he describes the presuppositions and goals of the postmoderns and leads the reader through a number of examples of deconstruction, ideological criticism and transgressive discourse. This is an excellent entrée into a new and different approach to biblical interpretation.
What Is Postmodern Biblical Criticism?
Guides to Biblical Scholarship (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), xiv + 81 pp., $10.00 (paper)
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