Rubén René Dupertuis
The Acts of the Apostles offers a kind of sequel to Gospel of Luke, telling the story of the spread of the Jesus movement through the activities of key leaders, beginning in Jerusalem, moving westward into the Aegean region, and finally to Rome, the imperial center. Narrative approaches have been instrumental in turning attention to how the author tells the story using the tools of narrative—plot, characterization, and so on—as well as to how the author’s use of linguistic and cultural codes would have been heard by ancient readers. This chapter explores the importance of this westward geographical movement in Acts and, through a reading of the story of Paul’s visit to Philippi (Acts 16:11–40), looks at the ways in which the author of Acts adapts narrative conventions to highlight particular moments in the progression.
The narrative(s) in Genesis 1–3 is a foundational text for Western discourse on gender and sexuality. To date, studies of biblical masculinities have virtually ignored the biblical first male subject; feminist scholarship has long focused on Eve; and queer readings that render Genesis 1–3 alien to modern discourses are promising but small in number. This chapter takes some tentative first steps toward a more focused reception history of Adam as a gendered subject. In light of the current (and still relatively new) state of scholarship on biblical masculinities, the chapter then proposes that reception history and cultural-historical approaches to biblical “afterlives” offer a promising path for future work. Particular attention is paid to Adam’s gender in Genesis 1–3 itself and in the writings of Paul, as well as in later theological, literary, and artistic texts.
This chapter offers an overview of the history and historiography of some of the nonverbal aspects of American Bibles, focusing on format, bindings, and paper. These features of Bibles have evolved both materially and symbolically, owing to changing technologies, economic considerations, aesthetic preferences, and, crucially, a tension between two opposed ideals regarding the Bible’s physical presence. Americans with various stakes in Bible production have shared a sense that Bibles should be both materially impressive and widely accessible. The changing forms of Bibles make particularly legible the push and pull between transcendence and immanence, a contest ongoing in the digital age.
Russell W. Dalton
Children’s Bibles have been among the most popular and influential types of religious publications in the United States, providing many Americans with their first formative experiences of the Bible and its stories. This chapter explores the variety of ways in which children’s Bibles have adapted, illustrated, and retold Bible stories for children throughout US history. Children’s Bibles served a variety of ends, such as teaching biblical literacy, instilling a fear and respect for God’s power and judgment, calling children to salvation in Jesus Christ, modeling moral virtues, and reframing Bible stories as fun and engaging stories that portray a friendly God who cares for children.
Gerard J. Norton
This article first gives a schematic outline of the history of the Hebrew text in four stages. It then presents the elements that readers will meet in modern editions of that text. These modern editions find a common focus in the great Tiberian manuscripts of about 1000
This chapter considers the future of Anglicanism especially in the light of the interpretation of Scripture. It considers a recent instance of impasse and suggests a possible way forward. It goes on to discuss the contemporary issues concerning Anglican interpretations of scripture by looking at treatment of sexuality and violence. It considers hermeneutical differences among societies. The second half of the chapter questions whether the approach of scriptural reasoning that has been modelled by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars, in which Anglicans have played a prominent part, could assist different religions and different cultural contexts in hearing one another and learning to reason about the Bible together.
This chapter discusses the potential relevance of interdisciplinary animal studies for biblical interpretation. The story of Jacob and his family in Genesis 25–32 is examined from the perspective of a “critical animal hermeneutics.” Three features of such a hermeneutics, characteristic of contemporary animal studies, are emphasized: (1) the constitutive importance of “companion species,” emphasized by Donna Haraway, including in Israel’s case goats and sheep; (2) the instability of the human/animal binary, emphasized by Jacques Derrida and other thinkers; and (3) ubiquitous associations between species difference and differences among humans, particularly, in the case of biblical literature, gender and ethnic differences. Each of these features is used to read the story of Jacob and several related biblical texts.
The term ‘apocalypse’ denotes a particular literary type found in the literature of ancient Judaism, characterized by claims to offer visions or other disclosures of divine mysteries concerning a variety of subjects, especially those to do with the future. Cataclysmic events described in these texts are often labelled ‘apocalyptic’ because they resemble the world-shattering events described in John's visions in the book of Revelation. There is only one apocalypse in the Hebrew Bible, the book of Daniel, though the discovery of fragments of an Enoch apocalypse among the Dead Sea Scrolls suggests that apocalyptic was a widespread phenomenon in Second Temple Judaism. The concern with human history and the vindication of Israel's hopes echo prophetic themes, several of which have contributed to the language of the book of Revelation, particularly Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah.
Robin M. Jensen
Early Christian visual representations of the Virgin Mary include episodes from the apocryphal Protevangelium of James and Pseudo-Matthew and constitute some of the earliest known artistic depictions of any apocryphal texts. These stories’ emergence in early Christian art appears to be associated with the rise of the Virgin’s cult following her official declaration as Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus (431). Certain details from fifth-century mosaics found in Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, although contested by scholars, appear to depict the marriage of Mary and Joseph and a mysterious image that some identify as the Holy Family’s arrival in Egypt. Other early references to apocryphal narratives appear on fourth-century Christian sarcophagi that include the ox and ass in the stable and on fifth- and sixth-century ivories that depict the trial of bitter water, the healing of the midwife Salome, and the mocking of Anna by her maidservant.
Charlotte Touati and Claire Clivaz
This chapter focuses on characters that may be considered to play secondary or minor roles in canonical gospels, but are often prominent figures in non-canonical texts: Mary the mother of Jesus, Joseph the father of Jesus, the Magi, John the Baptist and his father Zechariah, Mary Magdalene, Pontius Pilate. Stories about these characters shed light on theological developments that are reflected in other early Christian texts. These developments include the increasingly prominent role of Mary, and anti-Jewish tendencies, which may be seen especially in the evolving role of Pilate, who is distanced even further from responsibility for Jesus’ death than he is in the canonical Gospels. A common feature of these writings is an interest in building on details found in canonical texts, or illuminating areas on which those canonical writings were silent. Thus they appear to have been written to supplement and not to supplant other Christian writings.