Scripture and Literature
A David Jasper Anthology
Imprint: Baylor University Press
Sales Date: 2023-11-30
260 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 0.75 in
- Published: December 2023
For Professors: Exam Copies
For some, the Bible and literature are at odds. The Bible, it is argued, is not properly literature but a piece of outmoded fiction that ought not to be studied or taken seriously. However, the relationship and impact between the Bible and, in turn, proceeding literature cannot be overlooked. The Bible is an ever-fruitful source for creativity that has contributed to all the great achievements of Western thought, writing, and artistry for the last two millennia.
With Scripture and Literature, David Jasper has compiled forty years of his writings on the relationship between the Bible, literature, and art. These writings are interdisciplinary in nature and are not the work of a specialist in biblical scholarship. Rather, while acknowledging the Bible as a sacred text in more than one religious tradition, they recognize the Bible as literature in conversations with other literary works and traditions as well as the visual arts. During the forty years which these essays span, enormous changes have taken place in our world. Postmodernism has come and gone; issues in feminism and gender are now acutely, and properly, with us; and the world has become much more of a global village, despite its many divisions. On the other hand, and at the same time, it is remarkable how little has changed, and the reader will find that some older pieces remain relevant and necessary today.
Parts of the book deal broadly with questions of translation, rhetoric, war, and evil, while others focus on specific writers and artists from J. M. W. Turner to the English novelist Jim Crace. Yet behind Scripture and Literature lies a lifetime of careful thought and teaching of the Bible and literature. In the end, Jasper synthesizes his work, offering some reflections on pedagogy and the changes that have occurred since the 1980s up to the present day.
No one can actually read the Bible for the first time, because it is almost everywhere in literature and art, as well as in the encounter of China and the West. Such a juxtaposition, with mutual and reciprocal illumination, makes David Jasper’s research always fascinating and also makes our recognition of the sacred and the profane reactivated.~YANG Huilin, Professor of Compartive Literature and Religious Studies, Renmin University of China
This collection of essays invites the reader to explore the terrain of artistic engagements with the Bible in the company of one of the wisest and most knowledgeable of guides. Through subtle but profoundly scholarly means it lures the reader away from well-worn paths, drawing them into wilderness places as well as green pastures. A lovely, lyrical work that is also full of radical reading challenges.~Heather Walton, Professor of Theology and Creative Practice, University of Glasgow
This Anthology of essays by David Jasper, spanning forty years of thoughtful engagement with the Bible, theology and culture in its broadest sense, demonstrates the breadth and depth of David's expertise, influence, and enthusiasm. His reflections on literature, art, ethics, translation, teaching, and much more stand the test of time while also being rooted in his own experience as a university lecturer and Anglican priest. This is a collection of essays which radiates warmth and wit, charting new directions while engaging sensitively with the scholarship of the past.~Alison Jack, Professor of Bible and Literature and Principal of New College, University of Edinburgh