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The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age

, 2005
ISBN: 9780802828927

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Biblical scholars today often sound as if they are caught in the aftermath of Babel—a clamor of voices unable to reach common agreement. Yet is this confusion necessarily a bad thing? Many postmodern critics see the recent profusion of critical approaches as a welcome opportunity for the emergence of diverse new techniques. In The Bible after Babel, noted biblical scholar John J. Collins considers the effect of the postmodern situation on biblical, primarily Old Testament, criticism over the last three decades. Engaging and even-handed, Collins examines the quest of historical criticism to objectively establish a text’s basic meaning. Accepting that the Bible may no longer provide secure “foundations” for faith, Collins still highlights its ethical challenge to be concerned for “the other”—a challenge central both to Old Testament ethics and to the teaching of Jesus.

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“As James Barr has insisted, historical criticism is not strictly a method, but a loose umbrella that covers a range of methods (source criticism, form criticism, sociological criticism, etc.) that may sometimes be at odds with each other.” (Page 4)

“This principle gave rise to problems with regard to the miraculous aspects of the biblical stories, but it also provided a way of bringing the text to life by analogy with modern experiences.” (Page 6)

“ a refusal to accept modes of interpretation, such as sociology, which take seriously the human historicity” (Page 141)

“second principle of historical criticism is the principle of analogy” (Page 5)

“am on the modern side of the modern/postmodern debate” (Page 3)

  • Title: The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age
  • Author: John J. Collins
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 211

John J. Collins was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago from 1991 until his arrival at Yale Divinity School in 2000. He has published widely on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. His books include the commentary on Daniel in theHermeneia seriesThe Apocalyptic Imagination, and Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. He has served as editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature and as president of both the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature.


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    Digital list price: $24.99
    Save $5.00 (20%)