Houses of the Interpreter: Reading Scripture, Reading Culture

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9780918954893: Houses of the Interpreter: Reading Scripture, Reading Culture
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In Houses of the Interpreter David Lyle Jeffrey explores the terrain of the cultural history of biblical interpretation. Jeffrey's mapping does not merely rest content to chart biblical scholarship and how it has influenced cultural impulses. Instead, Jeffrey chooses to focus upon the "art" of Biblical interpretation--how sculptors, musicians, poets, novelists, and painters have "read" the Bible. By so doing, Jeffrey clearly demonstrates that such cultural interpretation has deepened the church's understanding of the Bible as Scripture and how, remarkably, this cultural reading even has contributed to theology and the practice of faith. Jeffrey's chapters effectively root theological issues germane to the hermeneutical enterprise (e.g., Scriptural authority, narrative, the Old Testament as Christian Scripture, and the role of the reader, gender, and postmodernism) in specific authors and artists (e.g., Chaucer, Bosch, C. S. Lewis) and he does this in constant conversation with literature, both eastern and western. In this book the Bible leaps to life in unprecedented ways as Jeffrey shows us how the best minds of the ages worked on texts--texts we thought we had already understood well--to produce readings as surprising as they are arresting.

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About the Author:

David Lyle Jeffrey is a Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities at Baylor University. Jeffrey earned his PhD from Princeton University and is the author or editor of 12 books including A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (1992) and People of the Book: Christian Identity and Literary Culture (1996).

Review:

David Lyle Jeffrey's volume of essays brings a dimension all too often missing from much evangelical writing. He draws sensitively and accurately on the Church Fathers, on medieval traditions, and on a needed depth of historical perspective. The result yields some robustly pithy "wisdom" aphorisms, which often breathe a refreshing sanity as well as wisdom. I warmly commend this volume. --Anthony C. Thiselton, Emeritus Professor in Residence of Christian Theology, University of Nottingham, England and Canon Theologian of Leicester Cathedral and of Southwell Minster

This absorbing book presents David Jeffrey at his best. An astute literary critic, Jeffrey constantly reminds readers of the intersections of scripture and culture and engages literary texts and masterpieces of art from fresh, provocative perspectives. But this is not just a book of aesthetic criticism. Jeffrey's call for the reconnection of criticism and theory with the scriptural understanding that has been the tradition of the Church carries with it radical implications for the Christian reader, who is called upon to exhibit humility before the text, to read with caritas, and to be alert to the dangerous shifts of authority in the contemporary language of worship and scripture translation. Jeffrey's is a compelling and elegant argument. --Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies, Wheaton College

This collection will likely appeal to scholars, teachers, and students who share the author's interest in contemporary Christian thought and its implications for scriptural understanding in the modern age... Recommended. --CHOICE

This wide-ranging collection of essays, dealing with important subjects in biblical, medieval, and modern literature and theology, is in a double sense a major work of Christian scholarship. From the purely scholarly point of view it deals confidently and with finesse with disparate phases of the rich and variegated history of Christian thought; but it is also refreshed and animated by an authorial faith-perspective shared by great humanists from Augustine through Erasmus and More to Toynbee and R. W. Southern. --John V. Fleming, Fairchild Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University; former president, the Medieval Academy of America

David Lyle Jeffrey's volume of essays brings a dimension all too often missing from much evangelical writing. He draws sensitively and accurately on the Church Fathers, on medieval traditions, and on a needed depth of historical perspective. The result yields some robustly pithy "wisdom" aphorisms, which often breathe a refreshing sanity as well as wisdom. I warmly commend this volume. --Anthony C. Thiselton, Emeritus Professor in Residence of Christian Theology, University of Nottingham, England and Canon Theologian of Leicester Cathedral and of Southwell Minster

This absorbing book presents David Jeffrey at his best. An astute literary critic, Jeffrey constantly reminds readers of the intersections of scripture and culture and engages literary texts and masterpieces of art from fresh, provocative perspectives. But this is not just a book of aesthetic criticism. Jeffrey's call for the reconnection of criticism and theory with the scriptural understanding that has been the tradition of the Church carries with it radical implications for the Christian reader, who is called upon to exhibit humility before the text, to read with caritas, and to be alert to the dangerous shifts of authority in the contemporary language of worship and scripture translation. Jeffrey's is a compelling and elegant argument. --Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies, Wheaton College

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