"Canonical criticism" is not a recognized branch of biblical studies--granting new focus to questions of the authority and truth of the scriptural writings. Developed within a critical sense of the dominant historical-critical tone of biblical studies, canonical criticism as it has been pursued by the American scholars Brevard S. Childs and James A. Sanders stands as witness to the theological necessity of a more literary approach to the Bible.
This book both criticizes the "canonical" enterprise, and takes it much further into readings of the canon from the perspective not only of literature, but also art, and in particular the biblical art of Rembrandt. In addition, it remains acutely conscious of the contemporary environment of our reading within the political concerns of feminist criticism, popular absorption in film and the narratives of the screen, and finally the crisis, or crises, which characterize the so-called "postmodern condition."
What emerges is at once highly critical of traditional strategies of canonization, and at the same time constructive and concerned to recover the Bible for our own time in readings which move outside the limited academic concerns of the biblical critic or the institutions of the church and religious community.
David Jasper is Changjing Chair Professor at Renmin University of China