Dialogues of the Word: The Bible as Literature According to Bakhtin
Using the theory of language developed by the Soviet critic Mikhail Bakhtin, this book argues that the historically various writings of the Bible have been given formal coherence within the canon by a notion of dialogue. The idea of an extended communication between God and his people is embodied in the continual conversation between one part of the Bible and another. Reed looks beyond the close readings of recent accounts of the bible as literature to the broader patterns of coherence in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament. He treats the Bible in its different canonical states, distinguishing the genres of law, prophecy and wisdom in the Hebrew Bible and describing how these earlier forms of biblical communication are appropriated and answered by the New Testament genre of gospel.The dialogic character of the Bible is also discovered within individual books: patriarchal answers to primeval problems in Genesis, cross-talk between justice and providence in Job, orchestration of worship and judgement in Revelation. Throughout this wide-ranging study, Reed demonstrates the surprising relevance of Bakhtin's ideas of literature and language to an understanding of the biblical writings as they have been organized within the canon.
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