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CALL. 13.02.2018: [Panel 3 at SBL 2018] Deconstructive Poetics - Helsinki (Finland)










LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: (Helsinki, Finland)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Society of Biblical Literature ; Francis Landy ; Hannah Strømmen


INFO: web - ;




In the 1980s there was an efflorescence of books on the poetics of the Hebrew Bible, such as Adele Berlin Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative; Robert Alter’s two books on the art of biblical narrative and poetry; and Meir Sternberg The Poetics of Biblical Narrative. Since then, however, there has been rather little. More recent work on poetics, moreover, has tended to be formalistic, to separate structure and style from questions of meaning and interpretation.

The Deconstructive Poetics research group has two objectives:

i) to investigate how the biblical writers constructed their literary works through the intricate interplay of sound, sensation, argument, and symbolism; and ii) how the biblical writers simultaneously deconstructed their poetic worlds, through phenomena such as ambiguity and word-play. Deconstruction evokes the playfulness and uncontrollability of writing, the tendency of every whole to fragment, to impart the incoherence of the world. It also implies an openness to a variety of post-structuralist approaches and agendas. Structuralism was an heroic attempt to reduce all human cultural productions to a limited set of logical operations and issues. Post-structuralism is both more subjective, in that it calls attention to the plurality of readers and reading communities, and less so, since the subject him/herself is in question. Post-structuralism engages with the strangeness of the text, its resistance to interpretation, its diverse voices, the text as performance, for example of gender.

Approaches to be engaged with in the group may include parapoetics, the poetics of reception, as well as stylistics and rhetorics.

For the meeting in Helsinki in 2018 we invite papers for one open session, on any topic related to deconstruction, post-structuralism, gender theory, aesthetics, or reception exegesis, on texts either from Hebrew Bible or New Testament. We also invite papers for a special session on The Postmodern Bible, written by the ‘Bible and Culture Collective’ in 1997 (Yale University Press). Experimental in its multi-authored form, and providing a much-needed resource for the intersection between literary theory, cultural criticism and biblical studies, this collection of articles forged new and exciting pathways in biblical criticism. As it is twenty years since The Postmodern Bible was published, we would like to take the opportunity to invite papers that reflect on the significance and impact of The Postmodern Bible, on individual contributions in the book, on postmodernism and the Bible today, and on future directions for theory and the Bible.

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