Fortress Press

Israel's Poetry of Resistance: Africana Perspectives on Early Hebrew Verse

Israel's Poetry of Resistance

Africana Perspectives on Early Hebrew Verse

Hugh R. Page Jr. (Author)


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Noting that Israel's earliest responses to earth-shaking changes were cast in the powerfully expressive language of poetry, Hugh R. Page Jr. argues that the careful collection and preservation of these traditions—now found in every part of the Hebrew Bible—was an act of resistance, a communal no to the forces of despair and a yes to the creative power of the Spirit.

Further, Page argues, the power of these poems to craft and shape a future for a people who had suffered acute displacement and marginalization offers a rich spiritual repertoire for Africana peoples today, and for all who find themselves perennially outside the social or political mainstream. Here Page offers fresh translations and brief commentary on the Bible's fifteen earliest poems, and explores the power and relevance of these poems, and the ancient mythic themes behind them, for contemporary life at the margins.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800663346
  • eBook ISBN 9781451426281
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 120
  • Publication Date August 1, 2013


“Not only did I learn much from reading Israel's Poetry of Resistance, I genuinely enjoyed engaging it, playing with it, riffing with it and on it. It is a fun and provocative read. Hugh Page displays daring interpretive play and the willingness to mix it up with different discursive worlds not usually in conversation. With this book Page has clearly positioned himself among the most creative contemporary scholars of the Bible.”
—Vincent L. Wimbush
Claremont Graduate University
“In this insightful and powerfully charged book, Hugh Page lays bare the richness and relevance that the most ancient poems in the Bible hold for the Africana community especially, but for all who care about the marginalized in society. His breadth as solid scholar, sensitive poet, and pastoral theologian enables him to mine the treasures embedded in the ancient scriptural texts, to empathize with the social situation and plight of the displaced and marginalized Israelites, and to articulate the biblical message of prayerful resistance to those outside the social and political mainstream today. This book will be a rich resource for biblical scholars interested in Israel’s ancient poetry, for modern people experiencing marginalization, and for pastors who minister to this portion of God’s people.”
—Eugene Ulrich
University of Notre Dame
“In Israel’s Poetry of Resistance, Hugh Page illuminates an Africana trajectory of Israelite poetry, reading its language in concert with African diasporic people who turn to the Bible to inspire their own acts of resistance. Page’s translations are fresh, critically nuanced, inspiring, evocative and above all poetic. His subtle wordplay evokes deep resonances between the text and the layers of Africana culture he samples. Page’s work powerfully conjures a living, breathing text, offering a glimpse of a life in neighborhoods unfamiliar to previous docents of ancient Israelite poetry. This volume is a must for anyone interested in Biblical Hebrew poetry, its translation and interpretation.”
—Wil Gafney
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
“The power of biblical poetry comes alive in the pages of Hugh R. Page, Jr.'s seminal work Israel's Poetry of Resistance: Africana Perspectives on Early Hebrew Verse. Page's riveting fusion of the horizons of Hebrew poetry, the Africana tradition, and autobiography, shifts the geography of reflection on Hebrew poetry and excavates its ethical and transformative significance for projects of recovery and freedom throughout the Africana world and beyond. Its exploration and illumination of our understanding of the diverse and complex dimensions of early Hebrew and Africana identity and experience demonstrate Page's ability as biblical scholar and acute cultural analyst.”
—Leslie R. James
DePauw University