Biblical Performance Criticism Series

David Rhoads, Series Editor

The ancient societies of the Bible were overwhelmingly oral. People originally experienced the traditions now in the Bible as oral performances. Focusing on the ancient performance of biblical traditions enables us to shift academic work on the Bible from the mentality of a modern print culture to that of an oral/scribal culture. Conceived broadly, biblical performance criticism embraces many methods as means to reframe the biblical materials in the context of traditional oral cultures, construct scenarios of ancient performances, learn from contemporary performances of these materials, and reinterpret biblical writings accordingly. The result is a foundational paradigm shift that reconfigures traditional disciplines and employs fresh biblical methodologies such as theater studies, speech-act theory, and performance studies. The emerging research of many scholars in this field of study, the development of working groups in scholarly societies, and the appearance of conferences on orality and literacy make it timely to inaugurate this series. For further information on biblical performance criticism, go to www.biblicalperformancecriticism.org.
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  1. Sound Matters

    Margaret E. Lee

    Cascade / NOV 2018

    Sound matters. The New Testament’s first audiences were listeners, not readers. They heard its compositions read aloud and understood their messages as linear streams of sound. To understand... read more »
  2. Performance Criticism of the Pauline Letters

    Bernhard Oestreich

    Cascade / OCT 2016

    Receiving a letter from Paul was a major event in the early churches. Given the orally oriented culture of the time, a letter was designed to be read out loud in front of an audience. The document... read more »
  3. The Story of Naomi--The Book of Ruth

    Terry Giles, William J. Doan

    Cascade / JAN 2016

    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... read more »
  4. From Text to Performance

    Kelly R. Iverson

    Cascade / OCT 2014

    For the last two centuries biblical interpretation has been guided by perspectives that have largely ignored the oral context in which the gospels took shape. Only recently have scholars begun to... read more »
  5. Text and Tradition in Performance and Writing

    Richard A. Horsley

    Cascade / NOV 2013

    Embedded in modern print culture, biblical scholars have been projecting the assumptions and concepts of print culture onto the texts they interpret. In the ancient world from which those texts... read more »
  6. The Oral Ethos of the Early Church

    Joanna Dewey

    Cascade / OCT 2013

    To experience the gospel message as first-century people heard it is to move into an oral world, one with very little reliance on manuscripts. The essays in this book explore this oral world and... read more »
  7. Oral and Manuscript Culture in the Bible

    J. A. Loubser

    Cascade / JAN 2013

    Oral and Manuscript Culture in the Bible is the fruit of Professor Loubser's confrontation with how Scripture is read, understood, and used in the Third World situation, which is closer than... read more »
  8. Translating Scripture for Sound and Performance

    James A. Maxey, Ernst Wendland

    Cascade / NOV 2012

    The various studies presented in this anthology underscore the foundational matter of translation in biblical studies as understood from the specific perspective of Biblical Performance Criticism.... read more »

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