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The Bible and Disability
A Commentary

Edited by Sarah J. Melcher, Mikeal C. Parsons and Amos Yong

The Bible and Disability
Paperback, 510 pages $59.95
Published: 1st October 2017
ISBN: 9781602586215
Format: 9in x 6in

Hardback, 510 pages $79.95
Published: 1st October 2017
ISBN: 9781481308533
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Biblical Studies, Social & Economic Ethics

The Bible and Disability: A Commentary (BDC) is the first comprehensive commentary on the Bible from the perspective of disability. The BDC examines how the Bible constructs or reflects human wholeness, impairment, and disability in all their expressions. Biblical texts do envision the ideal body, but they also present visions of the body that deviate from this ideal, whether physically or through cognitive impairments or mental illness. The BDC engages the full range of these depictions of body and mind, exploring their meaning through close readings and comparative analysis.  

The BDC enshrines the distinctive interpretive imagination required to span the worlds of biblical studies and disability studies. Each of the fourteen contributors has worked at this intersection; and through their combined expertise, the very best of both biblical studies and disability studies culminates in detailed textual work of description, interpretation, and application to provide a synthetic and synoptic whole. The result is a close reading of the Bible that gives long-overdue attention to the fullness of human identity narrated in the Scriptures.


Introduction, by Sarah J. Melcher



1. Genesis and Exodus, by Sarah J. Melcher



2. Leviticus–Deuteronomy, by David Tabb Stewart



3. Joshua–Second Kings, by Jeremy Schipper

4. First and Second Chronicles–Esther, by Kerry H. Wynn



5. Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, by Sarah J. Melcher

6. Psalms, Lamentations, and Song of Songs, by Jennifer L. Koosed



7. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Twelve, by J. Blake Couey



8. Mark and Matthew, by Candida R. Moss

9. Luke–Acts, by David F. Watson



10 John, First–Third John, and Revelation, by Jaime Clark-Soles



11. Paul, by Arthur J. Dewey and Anna C. Miller



12. Hebrews and the Catholic Letters, by Martin C. Albl

"Our society has been slow to acknowledge and take up responsibility for the wellbeing of disabled persons among us. We have been slower still in grasping the urgent theological dimensions of the issue of disability. For these reasons this book is a most welcome one. This impressive roster of contributors breaks new ground in exploring the interface of biblical testimony and the reality of disability and in seeing in the biblical text the inescapable reality of disability. For many readers, this collection of fine essays will constitute a steep learning curve for seeing what we had not seen in the text, and thinking what we had not thought as a result of new seeing. The writers and editors are to be congratulated on this impressive and instructive study."

—Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary

"This groundbreaking volume brings the perspectives of disability studies to the interpretation of the Bible. Conceived and written by a team of scholars, the essays in this work scan the entirety of the Bible, zeroing in on key passages and motifs with special relevance for the topic.”

—John R. Barker, OFM, The Bible Today

"...A valuable teaching and research resource for years to come."

—Susannah Cornwall, Reading Religion

“A stimulating collection of diverse essays, which are suggestive and engaging for anyone who is fairly new to this field.”

—Jane Heath, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"The Bible and Disability: A Commentary offers groundbreaking work in linking two distinct areas of scholarship: biblical studies and disability studies. The authors read the Bible’s narratives, oracles, and letters while asking how the categories of ‘temporarily abled,’ ‘ill,’ ‘possessed,’ and others are framed in Scripture. Their overriding question is: what counts for ‘normal’ human experience in the Bible? Anyone interested in the fields of biblical studies and disability studies will need to engage with this volume."

—Kathryn Greene-McCreight, author of Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness

"Scholarship that employs a disability studies lens to interpret the Bible is vigorous and increasingly important today. The editors of The Bible and Disability—Sarah Melcher, Mikeal Parsons, and Amos Yong—have themselves been important contributors to recent research on embodiment and disability in Scripture and theology. For this project, they have gathered an impressive team of scholars to join them in probing a wide range of biblical texts from the perspective of disability. This commentary consolidates much of the wisdom on offer in recent disability studies approaches to the Bible. It will offer an especially helpful resource for readers—whether temporarily able-bodied or not—who are not yet familiar with this way of engaging Scripture. This is a welcome addition to my library."

—John Carroll, Harriet Robertson Fitts Memorial Professor of New Testament, Union Presbyterian Seminary

"An exceedingly valuable collection."

—Tim Vermande, H-Net Reviews

Sarah J. Melcher is Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Scriptures at Xavier University.

Mikeal C. Parsons is Professor and Macon Chair in Religion at Baylor University.

Amos Yong is Professor of Theology and Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 510 pages
 9in x 6in

 Hardback , 510 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL006000, REL067000, SOC029000
 Baylor University Press

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