Fortress Press

Experiencing Scripture: The Five Senses in Biblical Interpretation

Experiencing Scripture

The Five Senses in Biblical Interpretation

Victor H. Matthews (Author)

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Experiencing Scripture explores living environments of ancient Israel and the role the five senses play in understanding the Biblical text.

The environments encompass both village and city, delve into life altering events like warfare, explore the sensual aspects of law, and showcase the role that religious practice and performance play in ancient Israel. In every chapter there is a systematic attempt to focus on each sense in turn while acknowledging that the senses seldom operate alone, but instead in combination. In addition, an effort is made whenever possible to examine the full sensual experience described or depicted in art, narrative, poetry, prophetic speech, wisdom literature, religious ritual speech, and in legal statements and activities.

Like people in every time and place, the inhabitants of ancient Israel perceived and described their world through their senses. The rhythm of life in small villages and towns has its own pace governed by the seasons. Their lives, while simple by modern standards, found identity and pleasure in familiar sights and sounds. For those who lived in walled cities, the narrow streets zigzagged through the town and opened into the public square or a temple complex that would be filled with people going about their daily activities and with children at play. There was joy in the pain during the birth of a child, the shaping of a pot, the taste of a meal after a hard day of work, and in the celebrations associated with harvests and festivals. Their sensory experiences included strained muscles, nostrils choked with dust, the clamor of battle, and the sweet smell of incense. Because there are constant references to sensory aspects of their world, this volume is designed to point out, interpret, and provide or restore a fuller meaning to the text, including common metaphors and gestures that center on their sensory experience.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506479606
  • eBook ISBN 9781506479613
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 228
  • Publication Date February 7, 2023