Fortress Press

The Invention of the Biblical Scholar: A Critical Manifesto

The Invention of the Biblical Scholar

A Critical Manifesto

Stephen D. Moore (Author), Yvonne Sherwood (Author)

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What is a "biblical scholar"? Stephen D. Moore and Yvonne Sherwood provide a thoroughly defamiliarizing and frequently entertaining re–description of this peculiar academic species and its odd disciplinary habitat. The modern—and —biblical scholar, they argue, is a product of the Enlightenment. Even when a biblical scholar imagines that she is doing something else entirely (something confessional, theoretical, literary, or even postmodern), she is sustaining Enlightened modernity and its effects. This study poses questions for scholars across the humanities concerned with the question of the religious and the secular. It also poses pressing questions for scholars and students of biblical interpretation: What other forms might biblical criticism have taken? What untried forms might biblical criticism yet take?

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800697747
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 120
  • Publication Date April 1, 2011


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"A lively and readable survey of the engagement of literary and biblical studies with Theory, that is, postmodern theories. The authors challenge biblical scholars to engage Theory to understand our own disciplinary history, and thereby widen our horizons and free ourselves to be more broadly intellectually relevant. I encourage biblical scholars and graduate students to take up the challenge."
—Joanna Dewey
Harvey H. Guthrie, Jr. Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies
Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

"No one is more conversant in literary Theory than Moore and Sherwood, who have for some time been smuggling it into biblical studies in creative ways. As literary critics become less enamored of the promise of Theory, Moore and Sherwood see new possibilities for biblical scholars to move beyond the modernist obsession with 'the Enlightenment Bible' and engage theorists who are 'getting religion.' Their critique is sometimes caustic, always right–on; their manifesto points beyond traditional historical–critical methods, identity politics, and 'contextualization' for its own sake to a new, genuine universality that may shape the future of our discipline."
—Richard Horsley
Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and the Study of Religion, retired
University of Massachusetts, Boston

"Tongue–in–cheek and down–to–earth, this manifesto pairs clarity with a personal voice. A breath of fresh air, it makes everyone interested in being a "good" biblical scholar sit on edge. Sit tight! It's worth it."
—Mieke Bal
Academy Professor
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences