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Dialogues of the Word : The Bible as Literature According to Bakhtin - Walter L. Reed

Dialogues of the Word

The Bible as Literature According to Bakhtin

Hardcover Published: 15th July 1993
ISBN: 9780195079975
Number Of Pages: 248

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Dialogues of the Word attempts to make contemporary literary-critical sense of the received text of the Bible as it has been essentially fixed for most of the last two thousand years. Drawing on the theory of language developed by the Soviet critic Mikhail Bakhtin, Reed argues that the historically diverse writings of the Bible have been organized according to a concept of dialogue. The overriding concern with an ongoing communication between God and his people has been formally embodied, Reed shows, in the continuous conversation between one part of the Bible and another.
This unique study looks beyond the close readings of recent accounts of the Bible as literature to larger paradigms of communication in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament. Reed considers the Bible in its different canonical states, distinguishing the genres of law, prophecy, and wisdom in the Hebrew Bible and describing how these earlier forms of divine and human communication are appropriated and answered by the New Testament genre of gospel. The dialogic character of the Bible is also revealed within individual books: patriarchal answers to primeval failures in Genesis, cross-talk between justice and providence in Job, and orchestration of judgment and worship in Revelation.
Throughout this wide-ranging study, Reed demonstrates the surprising relevance of Bakhtin's ideas of literature and language to the biblical writings as they assume formal coherence within the canon. Positioning itself between the fragmenting referentiality of the historical view and the consolidating authority of the theological view, this literary reading of the Bible will interest both literary and historical critics of the Bible. In addition, literary critics especially concerned with Bakhtin's theory and its potential application to different texts will find this study illuminating.

"This is a timely addition to the current, fast-growing discussion of the Bible as Literature....A positive and stimulating contribution....The application of Bakhtin's methodology to the literary study of the Bible is an achievement of capital importance for which Reed deserves to be warmly commended."--Harold Fisch "One would have to turn to Northrop Frye's treatment of the Bible in, for example, The Great Code, to fine a study that matches Reed's exemplary literary-cultural reading. Reed's account makes the Bible do as much for Bakhtin as the other way round; indeed, his explication of Bakhtin's interpretive principles in light of biblical hermeneutics demonstrates and clarifies yet another aspect of that critic's immensely versatile approach. At the same time, Reed shows persuasively how the 'dialogic' nature of biblical narrative informs our academic and personal responses to what remains the west's dominant sacred text. Dialogues of the Word can already be found in the bibliographies of established scholars and graduate students in literary, biblical, and religious studies. It makes fascinating and valuable reading for non-specialists as well."--Robert Detweiler, Emory University "Reed's book makes a major contribution to the rehabilitation of the ancient alliance between scripture study and the study of rhetoric. That alliance was discarded in the rise of positivism, and now the restoration is under way. Reed shows how Bakhtin's literary theories open the density of the text and so invite to a quite fresh re-reading. The book is a most attractive introduction to new reading."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary "By displaying how the diversity of the Bible can be synthesized through dialogic relations among its parts, Reed furnishes a method by which both Biblical and literary scholars can greatly profit."--Weber Studies "[A] fine and timely study....Reed's prodigious research, fine discernment of connections, and persuasive arguments are impressive and helpful....His thoughtful dialogue with the Word, and one's own with his, proves fruitful."--The Cresset "This is a timely addition to the current, fast-growing discussion of the Bible as Literature....A positive and stimulating contribution....The application of Bakhtin's methodology to the literary study of the Bible is an achievement of capital importance for which Reed deserves to be warmly commended."--Harold Fisch "One would have to turn to Northrop Frye's treatment of the Bible in, for example, The Great Code, to fine a study that matches Reed's exemplary literary-cultural reading. Reed's account makes the Bible do as much for Bakhtin as the other way round; indeed, his explication of Bakhtin's interpretive principles in light of biblical hermeneutics demonstrates and clarifies yet another aspect of that critic's immensely versatile approach. At the same time, Reed shows persuasively how the 'dialogic' nature of biblical narrative informs our academic and personal responses to what remains the west's dominant sacred text. Dialogues of the Word can already be found in the bibliographies of established scholars and graduate students in literary, biblical, and religious studies. It makes fascinating and valuable reading for non-specialists as well."--Robert Detweiler, Emory University "Reed's book makes a major contribution to the rehabilitation of the ancient alliance between scripture study and the study of rhetoric. That alliance was discarded in the rise of positivism, and now the restoration is under way. Reed shows how Bakhtin's literary theories open the density of the text and so invite to a quite fresh re-reading. The book is a most attractive introduction to new reading."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary "By displaying how the diversity of the Bible can be synthesized through dialogic relations among its parts, Reed furnishes a method by which both Biblical and literary scholars can greatly profit."--Weber Studies "[A] fine and timely study....Reed's prodigious research, fine discernment of connections, and persuasive arguments are impressive and helpful....His thoughtful dialogue with the Word, and one's own with his, proves fruitful."--The Cresset "Reed's study develops a model for approaching the Bible as a whole as well as individual passages. He develops the theoretical base for this model in the thought of Bakhtin, but it is not necessary to have a previous acquaintance with Bakhtin to understand or appreciate the book. The value of his model is seen in his treatment of specific stories and themes which take on new meaning as they are seen as part of a conversation."--The Catholic Biblical Quarterly "Reed succeeds in creating a refreshing reading of the texts (and the text) of the Bible. His observations are measured and sober while being innovative and challenging. This book could be used with great success in both graduate and undergraduate settings. It also provides some interesting pedagogical strategies for teaching the dreaded biblical survey course. Reed's book represents an important new voice in the dialogue on the Bible as literature."--Literature & Theology

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
In the Beginning: Dialogue in Genesis and the Gospelsp. 3
The Law of the Priest, the Word of the Prophet, the Counsel of the Wise: A Poetics of the Hebrew Biblep. 38
Spoken to Us by His Son: A Dialogics of the New Testamentp. 77
Who is This That Darkens Counsel? Cross-Talk in the Book of Jobp. 114
Coming Down Out of Heaven from God: The Orchestration of an Ending in the Book of Revelationp. 139
Afterwordp. 167
Notesp. 173
Indexp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195079975
ISBN-10: 0195079973
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 15th July 1993
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.72 x 16.1  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.54