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date: 16 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes a variety of self-identified ethical-critical readings of biblical narrative. The essay situates narrative ethics in relation to the “turn to ethics” traversing literary, philosophical, and biblical studies. Narrative ethics is seen as a multidisciplinary critical and creative response to contested assumptions about the nature of self, society, and ethical responsibility and the urgent need to assess the ethical impact biblical narratives and their readings have on readers. Biblical readings are discussed in terms of their philosophical, ethical, and rhetorical influences, in particular the Aristotelian virtue ethics and phenomenological/hermeneutical traditions. The contributions of Wayne Booth, Paul Ricoeur, and Emmanuel Levinas’s are traced. The chapter concludes with a narrative-ethical reading of Luke 10:38–42 using Levinas’s notions of the “face” and “excessive responsibility” to demonstrate ethical engagement with a problematic text and its commentators.

Keywords: ethical criticism, narrative ethics, virtue ethics, phenomenology, hermeneutics, Wayne Booth, Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Levinas, Luke 10:38–42

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