In On the Way to Postmodern: Old Testament Essays (2 Vols.), David Clines presents a series of discourses from a postmodern perspective. Rather than using only methods of deconstruction, he combines traditional methods with postmodern ideas of analysis, resulting in a balanced reading of the Old Testament.
For these volumes, the author has selected 50 articles and papers, ten of them not previously published, from his work as an Old Testament scholar over the last 30 years. Some of the papers, like “The Evidence for an Autumnal New Year in Pre-exilic Israel Reconsidered,” are far from postmodern in their outlook. But there is ample evidence here that the postmodern is indeed the direction in which his mind has been moving. The essays are organized in eight sections (Method, Literature, History, Theology, Language, Psalms, Job, and, for entertainment, Divertimenti). They include “Reading Esther from Left to Right”, “Beyond Synchronic Diachronic,” “Story and Poem: The Old Testament as Literature and as Scripture,” “In Search of the Indian Job,” and “Philology and Power,” as well as “The Postmodern Adventure in Biblical Studies.” This collection is readable and academic, and will interest students, professors, and those wanting to learn more about postmodern thinking and how it can be used to read Scripture.
This first volume focuses on method, literature, and history, including a detailed introduction to postmodern analysis of Scripture. In the method section, there are ten essays on contemporary interpretation. Clines then presents a literary section, in which he centers on narrative style, structure, and parallelism. He finishes volume one with a history section, going over the Kingdom of Judah and the question of the Hebrew New Year.
In the second volume, Clines includes essays on theology, language, Psalms, Job, and Divertimenti. The theology section covers images of God, sin, humanity and relation to God, and the flood narrative. In the language section, Clines presents discussions on etymology, vocabulary, and philology. Cline then focuses on readings of Psalms and Job. He also includes a bibliography and indexes.
David Clines is Professor of Biblical Studies and Head of Department in the University of Sheffield.