The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern by John J. Collins

By John J. Collins

Biblical students this present day frequently sound as in the event that they are stuck within the aftermath of Babel -- a clamor of voices not able to succeed in universal contract. but is that this confusion inevitably a foul factor? Many postmodern critics see the hot large quantity of serious techniques as a welcome chance for the emergence of various new strategies. In The Bible after Babel famous biblical student John J. Collins considers the impact of the postmodern scenario on biblical, basically previous testomony, feedback over the past 3 a long time. enticing and even-handed, Collins examines the search of old feedback to objectively identify a text's easy that means. Accepting that the Bible may perhaps now not supply safe "foundations" for religion, Collins nonetheless highlights its moral problem to be involved for "the different" -- a problem relevant either to outdated testomony ethics and to the instructing of Jesus.

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Extra resources for The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age

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The Crisis in Historiography The field of historiography, like many others and more than most, has been subject to postmodernist critiques in recent years. ' In part, the skepticism arises from the fact that the past no longer exists, and so is accessible "only by way of its prior textualizations "s Consequently, there seems to be an unbridgeable gap between historiographical literature and the actual events of the past. In the words of Peter Munz, "We cannot glimpse at history. We can only compare one book with another book "6 In part, the skepticism arises from the inevitable contamination of any reconstruction by the interests and prejudices of the interpreter.

21 Christian theology, at least in its more liberal forms, reached an accommodation with historical criticism that acknowledged its validity, even if only within certain limits. Conversely, biblical scholars often sought to reconcile their findings with traditional faith. 25 There were, of course, profound differences between the American biblical theology movement represented by people like George Ernest Wright, and the more subtle European "history of traditions" approach of Gerhard von Rad,26 but the common ground was considerable.

Rather, the story seems to be a final episode in the gradual fall of humanity from the pristine glory of Eden to the postlapsarian condition of human history. 2 The distinctive postmodern take on the story, however, reverses the traditional evaluation. The enterprise of building the tower is still viewed negatively, but the confusion of languages is celebrated as liberation. 5 The confusion of languages, then, bespeaks political liberation, insofar as each people is freed to pursue its own identity.

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