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The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture

ISBN: 978-0-470-67488-8
576 pages
July 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture (0470674881) cover image
The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture provides readers with a concise, readable and scholarly introduction to twenty-first century approaches to the Bible.
  • Consists of 30 articles written by distinguished specialists from around the world
  • Draws on interdisciplinary and international examples to explore how the Bible has impacted on all the major social contexts where it has been influential – ancient, medieval and modern, world-wide
  • Gives examples of how the Bible has influenced literature, art, music, history, religious studies, politics, ecology and sociology
  • Each article is accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography
  • Offers guidance on how to read the Bible and its many interpretations
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Notes on Contributors viii

List of Figures xiii

Preface to the Paperback Edition xv

Introduction 1
John F. A. Sawyer

Part I Revealing the Past 9

1 The Ancient World 11
Philip R. Davies

2 The Patristic Period 28
Kate Cooper

3 The Middle Ages 39
Mary Dove

4 The Renaissance 54
Ilona N. Rashkow

5 The Reformation 69
Peter Matheson

6 The Counter-Reformation 85
Euan Cameron

7 The Modern World 104
John W. Rogerson

Part II The Nomadic Text 117

8 Judaism 119
Edward Kessler

9 Islam 135
Stephen N. Lambden

10 Asia 158
Choan-Seng Song

11 Africa 176
Jonathan A. Draper

12 North America 198
Scott M. Langston

13 Latin America 217
Erhard S. Gerstenberger

14 Australasia 232
Roland Boer and Ibrahim Abraham

Part III The Bible and the Senses 251

15 Literature 253
Jo Carruthers

16 Film 268
Alice Bach

17 Music 286
John W. Rogerson

18 Art 299
Heidi J. Hornik and Mikeal C. Parsons

19 Architecture 323
Andrew Ballantyne

20 The Theatre 338
Meg Twycross

21 The Circus 365
Burke O. Long

22 The Body 381
Gerard Loughlin

Part IV Reading in Practice 397

23 Contextuality 399
Gerald West

24 Politics 414
Tim Gorringe

25 Ecology 432
Anne Primavesi

26 Psychology 447
Ilona N. Rashkow

27 Gender 464
Deborah F. Sawyer

28 Nationalism 480
Jo Carruthers

29 Post-colonialism 497
Sharon A. Bong

30 Postmodernism 515
Andrew Tate

Index of Biblical References 534

General Index 546

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John F. A. Sawyer is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Newcastle University and of Biblical and Jewish Studies at Lancaster. Among his many publications are Sacred Texts and Sacred Meanings (2011), A Concise Dictionary of the Bible and its Reception (2009), and The Fifth Gospel. Isaiah in the History of Christianity (1996). He is co-editor of the Concise Encyclopedia of Language and Religion (with J. M. Y. Simpson, 2001), and series editor (with Christopher Rowland, Judith Kovacs and David Gunn) of the reception-history-based Blackwell Bible Commentary Series.
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  • A stimulating, readable, one-volume reference source about twenty-first century approaches to the Bible.
  • Consists of 30 articles written by distinguished specialists from around the world.
  • Draws on interdisciplinary and international examples to explore how the Bible has impacted on all the major social contexts where it has been influential – ancient, medieval and modern, world-wide.
  • Gives examples of how the Bible has influenced literature, art, music, history, religious studies, politics, ecology and sociology.
  • Each article is accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography.
  • Offers guidance on how to read the Bible and its many interpretations.
See More

“WithThe Blackwell Companion to the New Testament highly recommended for its biblical scholarship, The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture seems more reader-friendly but just as thorough as indicated by its ample citations and impressive bibliographies at the end of each chapter. Both books also make excellent reference guides without overlapping. i.e., Instead of presenting approaches that influence our understanding of a biblical text,The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture shows the influence of the Bible on literature, art, music, psychology, and even history and politics.”  (Bible Reviewer, 7 December 2013)

"Perusing this well-edited, fully indexed Companion is an exhilarating experience that is likely to lead readers to offer a sincere, if breathless, thanks to all involved in its creation." (Choice)

"An intriguing and highly engaging set of articles which demonstrate clearly how much of the world's culture has been, and is, permeated with biblical imagery, ideas and influences." (Journal for the Study of the New Testament)

This volume is a delight, full of interest and surprises. It contains a wealth of fine scholarship made readable and the book is highly recommended … Immensely varied, accessible, and fascinating." (Journal of Contemporary Religion)

"A sweeping and magnanimous overview … admirably achieves its goal with wit, aplomb, and a disciplinary breadth that is all too rare in biblical studies today … A welcome addition to the growing corpus of literature on the important relationship(s) between the Bible and culture." (Review of Biblical Literature)

"A unique manual that demonstrates that biblical studies are no longer done exclusively in departments of theology." (International Review of Biblical Studies)

“Concentrating vast bodies of knowledge in richly and vividly informative articles, this volume is a major contribution to religion and culture studies. It includes the three religions that use the Bible – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity – on topics as varied as film, Australasia, postmodernism, and the body. All scholars and students of religion and culture can learn from both the content and the method of this highly readable book.”
Margaret R. Miles, The Graduate Theological Union

“It is clear that the Bible in Western culture is recognized not only as ‘a source of revelation’ but as a generative force in the propulsion of culture. Professor Sawyer knows as much as anyone about ‘Reader Response’ and the ways in which the Bible has been read over time – misread or strongly read – to impact and shape culture. In this volume he has gathered a first-rate group of scholarly interpreters who lead us into heretofore unexplored areas along the interface of culture and Bible. This book is a venturesome and welcome pioneer not only in new learnings, but also in new methods that will continue to evoke new interpretations. The volume signals a fresh direction in Scripture study.”
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

“Nowhere has the mutual interdependence between the Bible and culture been as thoroughly analyzed as in the thirty contributions to this Companion. The rich variety of contents and perspectives of these imaginatively selected, densely packed chapters is overwhelming. A truly interdisciplinary work created by a group of internationally known scholars, this collection shows how the various aesthetic, political and religious aspects of culture inform and are still informed by biblical texts. They reveal how much our cultural imagination and practices are imbued with biblical images, themes and residues, but also how much present ways of thinking have moved far away from the Bible. The contributors discuss rabbinic, patristic, medieval, modern and postmodern approaches to the Bible, its global appropriations as also its reception and usage in Judaism, Islam and in contemporary ecological debates. These challenging essays invite much reflection and debate, making this Companion attractive to a wide range of readers.”
Ursula King, University of Bristol and University of London

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