The book of Ruth is probably best known as a romantic love story that, through the expression of loving devotion, overcomes tragedy and ends with the founding of the most famous family in all of biblical Israel. But the book wasn't always this way. In fact, it wasn't a book at all but rather a story told with a very different purpose in mind. Before Ruth, there was the Story of Naomi, a subversive story designed to challenge a male-dominated status quo. Through comedy, sarcastic irony, and unparalleled rhetorical skill the Naomi storyteller holds up for inspection social gender roles and the power of sexuality in a manner that resonates yet today. The Story of Naomi--The Book of Ruth goes behind the literary rendition of the story and recaptures the original oral tale, with script and performance directions that brings to life the humor, tragedy, and transparent honesty shared between the Naomi storyteller and her audience.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"An exquisite and daring performance of an ancient story that many dismiss as benign. Giles and Doan capture nuances of the book of Ruth that will delight readers and at the same time problematize twenty-first-century social norms. Bravo!" --Louis Stulman, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Findlay
"Two very able scholars lead us into new (oral) perspectives of viewing biblical literature in general and the book of Ruth (really the story of Naomi) in particular. We experience rich new depths and dimensions of the human experience." --Robert T. Anderson, Professor of Religious Studies, Michigan State University
"With thorough research, grounded in the literature on the oral traditions of the Bible, Giles and Doan argue convincingly for the oral and subversive origins of the book of Ruth as part of a female storytelling tradition. After establishing the likelihood of an oral tradition, the second half of their book provides a script, complete with staging directions, for The Naomi Story, allowing modern performers to make the oral tradition of this significant female perspective come alive for modern audiences." --Barbara O. Korner, Dean, College of Arts & Architecture, Penn State University
Terry Giles William J. Doan
Terry Giles is Professor of Theology at Gannon University and the author or coauthor of nine books, including two with William Doan: Prophets, Performance, and Power (2005) and Twice Used Songs (2009).
William Doan is Professor of Theatre at the Pennsylvania State University. In addition to coauthoring two previous books with Terry Giles, he is a playwright, solo performer, illustrator, and is currently working on a graphic novel.