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One Bible, many voices : different approaches to biblical studies
Gillingham, S. E. (Susan E.)
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Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1999.

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xx, 280 pages ; 23 cm
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BS475.2 .G497 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Advocating a pluralistic reading that acknowledges the many voices speaking in the Bible, Susan Gillingham offers theological, historical, and literary insights into the compilation of Scripture and the development of biblical studies.

Providing one of the most accessible and helpful introductions to the Bible available, this volume clearly outlines the main issues in understanding Scripture and demonstrates, using Psalm 8 as an example, the best method for reading the Bible today.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gillingham, lecturer in theology at Worcester College, Oxford, originally published this book in Great Britain in 1998. The book is divided into two parts, the first concerned with plurality in the making of the Bible, the second with plurality in its reading. The rhythm between making and reading suggested by this division is instructive. Gillingham introduces the Bible as a library, not a book. This primes students to expect a variety of texts with a variety of authors and a variety of styles, and it should serve to prepare them for a variety of interpretive approaches. The first part of the book, consisting of four chapters, is a careful introduction to the diverse theologies represented in biblical texts, to the processes by which "canons" of Scripture have been formed in a variety of communities and to the proliferation of texts and translations in both Judaism and Christianity. The five chapters of the second part introduce three types of interpretive approachesÄtheological, historical and literaryÄthen apply them concretely in an in-depth reading of a single Psalm. Many readers will find this feature to be most helpful; Gillingham offers a thorough introduction to the academic discipline of biblical studies, but it comes to life in this application to a particular text. Those interested in biblical studies, in both academic and nonacademic settings, will find this a useful book. Gillingham's narrative and her excellent bibliography will smooth the entry of new participants into an old and lively conversation. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Here Gillingham (Worcester College, Oxford) takes an academic, postmodern approach to the Bible: its character, formation, and interpretation. While most recent authors have dealt with either the New Testament or the Old (see John Barton's Reading the Old Testament, 1984; rev. and enl. ed., 1996), Gillingham tackles the entire canon of scripture. And while others have dealt with either the formation of the Bible (see David Ewert's A General Introduction to the Bible, 1983, 1990) or its interpretation (see Edgar McKnight's Postmodern Use of the Bible, 1988), Gillingham takes on both. Not surprisingly, her attempt to cover so much ground in a short amount of space has given the text a summary-like quality. From the outset, Gillingham emphasizes the pluralistic character of the Bible, noting the number of Bible versions and the absence of a universally recognized canon. In the second half of her work, she moves to a description of three widely recognized approaches to biblical interpretation: theological, historical, and literary. Using each of these approaches, Gillingham concludes by illustrating an integrative method of biblical interpretation with a look at the Psalms. This text, while accessible to general readers, is a product of the academy, not of the church or synagogue, and is most suitable for the undergraduate university classroom. W. E. Osburn; Institute for Christian Studies



Chapter One A Biblical Library? The Smaller Parts of the Greater Whole In any ordinary library, one would not expect the section on physics to offer the same sort of concerns as a book on the history of art; nor would one read an archival paper on criminal law and expect it to have the same aesthetic effect as would a piece of science fiction. So too with the Bible. Take, for example, the various didactic portions -- these would include the legal and proverbial material in the Old Testament, as well as the parables and maxims of Jesus, and the exhortations of Paul -- and compare these with the narrative histories; for example those in Joshua to 2 Kings in the Old Testament, and in the Acts of the Apostles in the New. It would not take long to perceive that didactic and narrative material each require a very different awareness of the historical and theological issues expressed through particular literary forms.     In understanding the Bible as a library of books, classified under several different sections, it is important to become aware of the most appropriate mode of reading for each separate work. Hence, identifying and classifying a particular piece of literature are essential before starting to read. The purpose of this chapter is to enable the potential biblical student to do this. Such a task works on three different levels, and because there is a great deal of diversity in the material represented at each level, the need for sensitive and integrated reading is essential. We shall move from the largest unit (marking the final stages in the biblical collection) to the smallest units, for it is important to understand how to read the whole before one reads the smaller parts. The End of the Process: The Bible as a Body of Literature The earliest languages in which the biblical writings were preserved were Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The Old Testament has been preserved in Hebrew and, in parts, in Aramaic; the New Testament was first written in Greek. Out of these two early linguistic traditions have emerged two quite different ways of subdividing each of these two major works, each subdivision showing the different cultural and theological concerns of particular compilers. The Old Testament Those who preserved and collected the Old Testament works in Hebrew created a threefold division for these books. The first is made up of five books called the Tôrâ , or the Law; however, this division is broader than the actual heading suggests, for the Tôrâ comprises not only legal codes but also a large proportion of material narrating the early origins of the Hebrew people.     The second division is called the [N.sup.e]bî'îm , or the Prophets. This includes three major prophetic books, namely Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and a collection of twelve smaller prophetic books, often referred to as the Scroll of the Twelve. Another part of the [N.sup.e]bî'îm is a long narrative (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings), concerning the time from the people's entry into the land until their exile from it. In Hebrew this portion is called the Former Prophets, and is thus a form of `prophetic history', or history narrated from a prophetic viewpoint.     The third (and latest) collection is called the [Ch.sup.e]tûbîm , or the Writings. This is a miscellany of material. Some of it is historical narrative, such as 1 and 2 Kings; this narrative includes parts of Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Some of it is didactic poetry; for example, the books of Proverbs and Job. One book, the Psalms, is of a liturgical nature. Five very short books, collected together on one scroll, are a combination of stories and poetry: Song of Songs, Lamentations and parts of Ecclesiastes are poetry; Ruth and Esther are stories. One other book is more concerned with apocalyptic issues (Daniel). The term used for the entire threefold division is, in Hebrew, Tanach -- an acronym for the Hebrew words Tôrâ (Law), [N.sup.e]bî'îm (Prophets) and [Ch.sup.e]tûbîm] (Writings). This particular classification indicates at least three clear diverse elements within the divisions of the Old Testament -- often termed appropriately as the Hebrew Bible -- and each division requires a different sensitivity on the part of the readers.     In the third century BCE, a Greek translation of the Hebrew was made in Alexandria, Egypt. Tradition has it that this was so that Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-46 BCE) could have a translated copy of the Hebrew Law (the Tôrâ ) in his library at Alexandria. Its more practical purpose was that it catered for the many Jews who lived outside Palestine, who had taken up a Hellenistic way of life and spoke and read Greek but not Hebrew. Other copies of the rest of the Hebrew Bible were gradually added to this copy of the Law -- some were added in Alexandria, some further afield. The references to `the law and the prophets and the others that followed them' in the Greek Prologue to Ecclesiasticus in about 132 BCE suggests that by this time much of the translation was complete. The whole translation became known as the Septuagint, or LXX; tradition has it that seventy-two scholars (six from each of the twelve tribes) were employed in the translation from the Hebrew, although the shorthand term for the whole is not LXXII but, more simply, LXX.     But, confusingly, the Greek translation adopted a fourfold division of this Hebrew Bible. The first, the Law, is the same as the Hebrew, incorporating the first five books of the Bible. The second division is termed the Histories, and, being more explicit and inclusive as to what might be termed history, comprises Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther (the latter four, in the Hebrew collection, were part of the Writings) as well as Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings (which, in the Hebrew collection, were part of the Prophets). The third division is called the Poetical Books, and includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs (all of which, in the Hebrew collection, were in the Writings), although the arrangement of the material is quite different from the Hebrew. The fourth division is the Prophetic Books. This comprises only the three major prophets and the Scroll of the Twelve, all of which were called the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew collection. However, even here, a different view of prophecy is evident, for the Greek omits the so-called `prophetic history', and includes the book of Daniel, with its apocalpytic concerns about a new age being revealed at the end of time. (Daniel, in the Hebrew edition, was part of the Writings.)     Different theological and literary criteria have thus determined the ordering of these two collections. In addition, the Greek collection also has other books not included in the Hebrew Canon, which illustrate further the different concerns of these collectors. (We shall look more closely at this feature of the Septuagint in a later chapter.) In the Hebrew tradition, the Law is deemed paramount, because in theological terms it marks out the beginnings of God's dealings with the Hebrew people; the Prophets are seen as the interpretation of that Law, and thus follow it; and the Writings are an open-ended group, interpreting for their own time some of the issues set out in the Prophets. The Greek tradition is the same as the Hebrew in its acceptance of the Law as primary. But in the Septuagint, the Histories form a separate collection, on account of their backward look; the Prophets form a self-contained collection of prophetic personae, linked together because of their collective future vision; and the Poetical Books are an independent category in that they are timeless, although nevertheless concerned with the present moment.     Tables 1 and 2 outline the two different editions of the Old Testament, each with their divisions and subdivisions. Table 1 The Threefold Division in the Hebrew Old Testament The Tôrâ or Law Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy The [N.sup.e]bî'îm or Prophets Joshua Judges 1 and 2 Samuel 1 and 2 Kings Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel The Scroll of the Twelve The [Ch.sup.e]tûbîm or Writings Psalms Proverbs Job Song of Songs Ruth Lamentations Ecclesiastes Esther Daniel Ezra Nehemiah 1 and 2 Chronicles Table 2 The Fourfold Division in the Greek Old Testament The Law Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy The Histories Joshua Judges Ruth 1 and 2 Samuel 1 and 2 Kings 1 and 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther The Poetical Books Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Lamentations The Prophetic Books Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi The New Testament The New Testament is essentially a Greek work. Here the division of material is less clear, but it is nevertheless possible to divide it into three or four groups of works.     In a threefold division, the first part would be the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, for these books are the primary witness to the life of Jesus and to the birth of the Church. Insofar as they concern the didactic material and stories about the early origins of the Christian community, they correspond with the two themes evident in the Law of the Old Testament. The fourteen Epistles form a second collection, organized according to purported authorship; some editions begin with the letters attributed to Paul and end with the non-Pauline epistles (the `Catholic' epistles), while other editions have the reverse order. Insofar as these might be seen as interpretations of the traditions found in the Gospels, they could be said to correspond with the Prophets, whose purpose in the Hebrew Bible was to interpret the Law. The final division is the apocalyptic book of Revelation (for, although the first two chapters include letters to seven churches, the overall concern of this book, like the book of Daniel, is undoubtedly apocalyptic). Being a more complex work, this could be compared with the place of Daniel in the Writings within the Hebrew Bible.     If, however, we use a fourfold division of the books which make up the New Testament, we end up with a classification which corresponds loosely to that of the Septuagint Old Testament. This is achieved by placing the Acts of the Apostles in a separate section. Using this model, the Gospels again parallel the Law; the history of the church in the Acts of the Apostles parallels the accounts of the origins and growth of the people of God as in the Septuagint division of the Histories; the Epistles, because of their appeal to present-day living, parallel the Poetical Books in the Septuagint; and Revelation, with its forward look, anticipating God's future intervention in the world, parallels the Greek Old Testament division termed the Prophetic books.     The differences between these divisions can be visualized as tables (see Tables 3 and 4). In presenting the New Testament in these two ways, we should make it clear that no edition of the Greek New Testament translation makes the threefold or fourfold division as distinct as this; it is a classification imposed on the text, deliberately making a parallel with either the Hebrew Bible or with the Septuagint. It could be argued that the fourfold division which is used for the LXX would be a more obvious pattern, for the New Testament writers had a closer relationship with the Greek (and indeed quoted from the LXX when they used the Old Testament) than they had with the Hebrew Bible. Table 3 A Threefold Division of the New Testament (following the Hebrew Old Testament) The Gospels Matthew Mark Luke John and the Acts of the Apostles The Epistles PAULINE Romans 1 and 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 and 2 Thessalonians 1 and 2 Timothy Titus Philemon NON-PAULINE Hebrews James 1 and 2 Peter 1, 2 and 3 John Jude A Writing Revelation Table 4 A Fourfold Division of the New Testament (following the Greek Old Testament) The Gospels Matthew Mark Luke John A History Acts of the Apostles The Epistles PAULINE Romans 1 and 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 and 2 Thessalonians 1 and 2 Timothy Titus Philemon NON-PAULINE Hebrews James 1 and 2 Peter 1, 2 and 3 John Jude A Prophecy Revelation The Middle of the Process: The Bible as a Miscellany of Authors It is impossible to know much about the identity of those responsible for the different divisions within the Bible. This is because no information is offered about their work other than in the references to the collections in other works. This may seem understandable; but less so is the fact that it is equally difficult to ascertain the identity of the actual biblical writers. This is in part due to the fact that, in the history of tradition, particular books were attributed to particular figureheads in the people's history, and attribution was thus read as authorship. Hence, using the Old Testament as an example, the term `the Laws of Moses' was deemed to imply that Moses `wrote' the entire Law; similarly, it was understood that David `composed' the Psalms, and Solomon, the book of Proverbs. And all of the prophetic books were thought to have been written by the prophetic figures who inspired them; for example, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea. In the New Testament, again attribution traditionally presumed authorship. Hence the apostle Peter was understood to have written both 1 and 2 Peter, and the apostle John, the book of Revelation; Paul was originally credited with a far larger number of letters than is presumed today.     The issue of determining what we mean by an `author' of the Bible is this: even though the figureheads in question (for example, Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, the apostles Peter, John and Paul) may well have been closely linked to the earliest traditions which inspired a particular book under their names, the compilation and editing were done by a number of others who had been inspired by their messages and who sought to preserve them in a way which was relevant for future generations. So when speaking of the `identity of the writers of the Bible', we are not referring just to the names of those who acted, as it were, as patrons for particular books; we also need to include those from a wide spectrum of social and religious groups who were responsible for a work in its finished form. In this sense, it is very difficult indeed to make judgements, in any specific biographical or autobiographical sense, about the particular writers of particular books, for there were many of them. All we can ascertain, in a much more general sense, is the influence of various parties who were responsible for the formation of a book throughout its long history of transmission. Hence in the following discussion of the `authors' of the Bible, we can only make observations in the most general terms. The Old Testament One of the most influential groups in the formation of the Old Testament is the priestly writers . They would have compiled the laws of Leviticus and Numbers; they would have presented the orderly account of the origins of mankind which forms the beginning and end of Genesis 1-11; and they would probably have been responsible for the compilation of the Chronicler's account of the people's history, from King David to the exile. The priestly writers encompass a long period in Israel's history. Their influence is likely to have begun in the first Temple period, between the period of the tenth and sixth centuries BCE, and continued throughout the second Temple period, from the sixth century BCE onwards (see p. xvi).     Another group comprises the prophets . This includes not only the named individual prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, but also the disciples who collected and edited their works. It also includes the scroll of the twelve minor prophets; here, too, other prophetic disciples would have undertaken the process of collecting and editing individual works. The named prophets came from diverse cultural backgrounds, and it is likely that their disciples did too. For example, Amos and Hosea had more rural associations, and their concerns were with the northern kingdom in the eighth century BCE, while their close contemporary Micah, was a prophet from near Jerusalem, who addressed mainly the Judean king and the Jerusalem court. By contrast, some two hundred and twenty years later, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah were more closely linked to the Temple and its personnel, and their oracles were mainly concerned with the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple. Another quite different prophetic group was responsible for compiling and editing the early history from settlement to exile with a particular prophetic bias (Joshua to 2 Kings, called `the Former Prophets' in the Hebrew Bible). Their purpose was to provide a prophetic interpretation for the crisis of the deportation to Babylon.     Two other groups of writers cannot be classified in any one socio-religious grouping. The first of these we might term poets -- some would be gifted officials who, on private and public occasions, composed many of the liturgical hymns and laments in the Psalter, others would be skilled bards, who composed less specifically liturgical works, but rather other works for public occasions such as reflective wisdom poetry, love songs and battle songs, celebrating victory or lamenting defeat in war. In earlier times, such poets would have been closely associated with the royal court; although the kings would rarely have composed themselves, under their patronage, court poets would have been responsible for parts of the books of Psalms and Proverbs.     A second group of unknown writers, spanning both the first and the second Temple periods, might be termed storytellers . These would be accomplished interpreters of earlier traditions, and their task was to explain the distinctive origins of their people by setting their stories within a larger historical context, editing material as diverse as Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Samuel and Kings (in earlier times) and Ruth, Jonah and Esther (in later times, after the Exile).     Another influential group we might call wise men . As in other ancient Near Eastern cultures, such as Egypt and Babylon, where the traditions of wisdom similarly flourished, these would have been responsible for collecting and editing early folklore, and composing (or editing) easily memorable aphorisms. Some of them would have served in the court of the king, and may well have been responsible for the compilation of narrative and didactic material concerning the end of King David's reign which is found in Samuel and Kings. In post-exilic times, after the collapse of the court of the king, the wise men would still have maintained a moralizing stance in society; they would have been responsible for editing the didactic material which was preoccupied with the meaning of life, found in books such as Job and Ecclesiastes. During the second Temple period, they would have had associations with the Temple scribes , whose concern it was to organize and edit parts of the Law, the most obvious portions being the various lists and genealogies about the people's origins found at the beginning of Genesis, in Numbers, and in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.     One much later group of writers, working towards the very end of the second Temple period (in the third and second centuries BCE) were the apocalypticists -- those who, apparently frustrated with the oppressive state of affairs under foreign rule, sought to provide an alternative vision of restoration where God alone was king. It is likely that they were dissenting parties, and although their vision would have been influenced by the prophets, the wise, the priests and the scribes, they adapted the traditions of these parties for their own purposes. Evidence of their concerns is found mainly in material in the prophetic books; examples include Isaiah 24-7, Zechariah 9-14 and the book of Joel. The apocalypticists were also influential in the composition of the latter part of Daniel, the latest book in the biblical corpus to have been written.     Although the precise identity of these groups of writers is unclear, and although the precise extent of the influence each had will never be known, the fact that they existed and that their influence is clear (on theological and stylistic grounds) in so many Old Testament books leads on to one important observation: the Old Testament was compiled in a diffuse and pluralistic way, from the time of the existence of the earliest namesake of a book to the final stage of adapting the traditions for a much later community. Yet again, therefore, such a variety of contributors requires a similar variety of approaches when reading their different contributions. The New Testament The Old Testament is a good example of the complex relationship between the supposed author of a work and the later editors and compilers; and by now it should not be surprising to learn that this complexity is found in the New Testament literature as well, in spite of the more limited time-span (some one hundred years) for the composition of this entire work.     One further problem with the New Testament is that it is impossible to ascertain the influence of actual social groups, as was the case with the Old Testament; for example, the contributions of priests, prophets, scribes and apocalypticists simply cannot be observed in the same way in the different mass of material which comprises the New Testament. Indeed, the information we have regarding the social groups during this period throws little light on the writers and compilers of the books themselves. We now know quite a lot about the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Herodians, Zealots and scribes; all of these were parties known to have been influential in Jerusalem at the time of Christ. And, further afield, those who adhered to Gnosticism or to the mystery religions were also known to have a good deal of influence in first-century Judah and beyond. But -- and this is quite different from the Old Testament -- it is highly unlikely that any one of these groups was involved in the actual writing and transmission of any of the New Testament books.     One way forward is to determine first the extent of non-Jewish influence in the New Testament. (This is, of course, quite different from the consistently Jewish origins of the Old Testament.) There would appear to be at least one Gentile writer (the author of Luke/Acts), whose work comprises almost one third of the New Testament.     Second, it is then important to determine which of the New Testament Jewish books might bear the marks of Palestinian Judaism (in that they appear to originate from within Judah) and which might suggest more the influence of Hellenistic Judaism (in that their origins lie in more Hellenistic parts of Asia Minor). For example, the Gospels of Matthew and John each claim, by reference to their figurehead, to have closer associations with Palestinian Judaism in terms of their origins, even though their traditions may have developed in church communities in Asia Minor at a later stage. The same might be said of Mark with the link back to Peter in the history of tradition. So too several of the shorter letters may suggest a similar influence for the same reason; the actual letters of Peter, and those of James, Jude and John all make this link back to a key apostolic figure whose origins lie in Palestine. Furthermore, the book of Revelation, albeit a complex and composite work, nevertheless claimed to have its roots in the traditions associated with the apostle John and so back to Palestine in terms of origin too. In each case, all of these works would have been edited and adapted in church communities outside Palestine; at the very least their Palestinian origins bring these books closer, in terms of geography and culture, to the Jewish and Palestinian world of the Old Testament.     We are thus left with other books whose origins, at least, can be traced back to traditions outside Palestine altogether. In addition to Luke, most of the Epistles (comprising almost half of the New Testament) claim to have associations with various settings in the life of Paul, the later `apostle', whose missionary influence extended far beyond the confines of Palestine. Paul's background appears to have been as cosmopolitan as any -- he had a rabbinic education, yet was a Roman citizen, and his upbringing was in the Hellenistic Jewish community at Tarsus, in Asia Minor. The addressees of the various letters linked to his name are predominantly churches throughout Asia Minor -- for example, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi and Colossae -- and their cultural and theological concerns would be markedly different from those of Palestinian Christians. In origin, as well as in later development, these works bear the mark of more specifically Hellenistic influence.     Hence when approaching the question of the `authors' of the New Testament, those books linked back in tradition to the various apostles may well suggest its origins lay amongst Jewish Christians in Palestine; but a good deal of other material comes from the more Hellenistic Jewish Christian world in Syria, Asia Minor and Greece. (We shall return to the issue of Palestinian and Hellenistic influences upon the early Christians in the following chapter; here we need only to note that it is possible to identify very different geographical and cultural settings behind the formation of the New Testament as a whole, even though it is difficult to tie these down any further to precise socio-religious groups.) Thus, even in the most general terms, we may perceive a wide variety of geographical and cultural influences throughout the New Testament at large, and this again indicates how works by different writers require different approaches and different expectations when reading them. (Continues...) Copyright © 1998 S. E. Gillingham. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xii
Prefacep. xiv
Historical Background 1 The Old Testament c. 1000-167 BCEp. xvi
Historical Background 2 The New Testament c. 200 BCE - 135 CEp. xvii
List of Tables and Figuresp. xix
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 Plurality in the Making of the Biblep. 7
1 A Biblical Library? The Smaller Parts of the Greater Wholep. 9
The End of the Process: The Bible as a Body of Literaturep. 9
The Old Testamentp. 10
The New Testamentp. 14
The Middle of the Process: The Bible as a Miscellany of Authorp. 17
The Old Testamentp. 18
The New Testamentp. 20
The Start of the Process: The Bible as a Plethora of Literary Formsp. 22
The Old Testamentp. 22
The New Testamentp. 23
Towards an Integrated Literary Approach to the Biblep. 23
2 A Biblical Theology? Two Testaments, One Book?p. 27
Theological Diversity in the Old Testament Literaturep. 27
Theological Diversity in the New Testament Literaturep. 33
The Use of the Old Testament in the Newp. 38
Towards an Integrated Theological Approach to the Biblep. 43
3 A Biblical Corpus? The Canon and the Boundaries of Faithp. 46
The Emergence of Canon in the Old Testament Collectionp. 46
The Lawp. 47
The Prophetsp. 47
The Writingsp. 48
The Emergence of a Canon in the New Testament Collectionp. 54
The Pauline Lettersp. 57
The Four Gospelsp. 58
The 'Other Works'p. 59
The Question of One Biblical Corpusp. 61
The Canon of the Orthodox Churchp. 63
The Canon of the Catholic Churchp. 64
The Canon of the Protestant Churchesp. 65
Towards an Integrated Historical Approach to the Biblep. 67
4 A Biblical Text? The Variety of Versionsp. 72
The Old Testament Text and the Hebrew, Greek and Latin Versionsp. 72
The Hebrew Textp. 73
The Greek Textp. 84
Latin Versionsp. 88
Aramaic Versionsp. 91
Syriac Versionsp. 92
The New Testament Text and the Greek, Syriac, Latin and Coptic Versionsp. 93
Greek Codices and Papyrip. 95
Syriac Translationsp. 99
Coptic Manuscriptsp. 99
Armenian Versionsp. 99
Latin Versionsp. 100
Translating the Bible into Englishp. 100
Towards an Integrated Reading of the Translated Textp. 110
Part 2 Plurality in the Reading of the Biblep. 115
5 Theological Approaches to the Bible
Theological Approaches to Reading in the Jewish Traditionp. 118
The Samaritan Pentateuchp. 118
The Septuagintp. 118
The Targumsp. 119
The Dead Sea Scrollsp. 119
Pesher and Midrasp. 120
Theological Approaches to Reading in the Christian Traditionp. 125
Paulp. 125
Hebrewsp. 127
Irenaeusp. 127
Clement and Origenp. 128
Theodore of Mopsuestia and John Chrysostomp. 129
Jeromep. 130
Augustinep. 131
Gregory the Greatp. 131
Aquinasp. 133
Richard Hookerp. 134
Seventeenth-century Approachesp. 134
Eighteenth-century Approachesp. 135
Karl Barthp. 136
Rudolf Bultmannp. 137
Biblical Hermeneuticsp. 137
Liberation Theologyp. 140
Feminist Theologyp. 141
Conclusions and Implicationsp. 143
6 Historical Approaches to the Biblep. 144
Different Historical Approachesp. 145
The Problem of Mythp. 146
The Problem of Contradictions in the Accountsp. 148
The Problem of Miraclesp. 150
The Problem of Religious Languagep. 151
The Problem of the Historical Jesusp. 153
The Diachronic Approach: Six Examples of the Historical-Critical Methodp. 157
Biblical Criticismp. 157
Higher Criticismp. 157
Lower Criticismp. 158
Source Criticismp. 159
Form Criticismp. 162
Tradition Criticismp. 164
Redaction Criticismp. 166
Canon Criticismp. 168
Summaryp. 169
7 Literary Approaches to the Biblep. 171
Different Literary Approachesp. 171
The Synchronic Approach: Six Examples of the Literary-Critical Methodp. 176
Literary Criticismp. 177
Semantic Readings of the Textp. 177
Linguistic Readings of the Textp. 178
Narrative Criticism and Poetic Criticismp. 179
Structuralist Criticismp. 180
Rhetorical Criticismp. 182
Reader-Response Criticismp. 183
Holistic Criticismp. 184
Conclusions and Implicationsp. 185
8 The Many Voices in the Psalmsp. 187
Plurality in the Making of the Psalterp. 187
The Psalter as a Collection of Smaller Parts within a Greater Wholep. 187
The Psalter as a Diverse Collection of Theologiesp. 191
The Psalter and the Diversity of Canonical Collectionsp. 195
The Diversity of the Psalter Evidenced through
Manuscripts and Versionsp. 199
Plurality in the Reading of the Psalterp. 202
The Psalter and Theological Approachesp. 202
Theological Approaches to the Psalms in the Jewish Traditionp. 202
Theological Approaches to the Psalms in the Christian Traditionp. 208
The Psalter and Historical Approachesp. 211
Higher Criticismp. 211
Source Criticismp. 214
Form Criticismp. 215
Tradition Criticismp. 217
Redaction Criticismp. 218
Canon Criticismp. 219
The Psalter and Literary Approachesp. 220
Semantic and Linguistic Readingsp. 220
Poetic Criticismp. 222
Structuralist Criticismp. 224
Rhetorical Criticismp. 225
Reader-Response Criticismp. 227
Holistic Criticismp. 228
Summaryp. 230
9 From Theory to Practice: Readings of Psalm 8p. 232
RSV Translation of Psalm 8p. 232
Historical Approachesp. 232
Lower Criticismp. 232
Higher Criticismp. 233
Source Criticismp. 234
Form Criticismp. 235
Tradition Criticismp. 235
Redaction Criticismp. 236
Canon Criticismp. 237
Literary Approachesp. 237
Semantic and Linguistic Readingsp. 237
Poetic Criticismp. 238
Structuralist Criticismp. 238
Rhetorical Criticismp. 240
Reader-Response Criticismp. 242
Holistic Criticismp. 242
Theological Approachesp. 243
Conclusionp. 245
Bibliographyp. 248
Subject Indexp. 271
Author Indexp. 275
Bible Reference Indexp. 278