Friday, June 25, 2010

fascinating resource for postmodern preaching: Blackwell Bible commentaries

In doing some research this week – indigenous responses to colonisation; how colonised people’s use the book of the coloniser (the Bible ) – I stumbled across a fascinating resource – the Blackwell Bible Commentaries.

To quote from the commentary on the book of Judges, these books focus on “what a text, especially a sacred text, can mean and what it can do, what it has meant and what it has done, in the many contexts in which it operates.”

In other words, while most commentaries focus on the Bible text, this commentary series explores how people have interpreted the Biblical text, from the church fathers through to current popular culture. It dips into literature, art, politics, comics, hymns and official church statements. It’s classically post-modern in focusing on reader-response, but it’s fascinating. It’s even got pictures! How cool is that in a Biblical commentary.

So in my research I am looking at the Samson story in Judges 14 and in particular how a Maori leader (Te Whiti O Rongomai of Parihaka) used that text to encourage non-violent resistance. Turning to Judges Through the Centuries I read how the text was interpreted over the last 2,000 years.

Which serves to underline how radical and innovative was the theological work of Te Whiti – some 100 years ahead of other Biblical interpreters of that text. There are commentaries on John, Revelation and Judges, Psalms, Exodus, with another 20 or so in process.

Posted by steve at 09:30 AM