9780826412737 / 0826412734

Jesus and the Politics of Interpretation


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Publisher:Continuum, 2000



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About the book:

Jesus and the Politics of Interpretation seeks to interrupt the rhetorics and politics of meaning which in the past decade have compelled the proliferation of popular and scholarly books and articles about the historical Jesus, and which have turned Jesus into a commodity of neo-capitalist western culture.

In this spirited book, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza continues her argument begun in Jesus: Miram's Child, Sophia's Prophet (Continuum, 1995), now with a focus on the politics of Jesus scholarship. It is no accident, she maintains, that scholars in the U.S. and Europe have rediscovered the historical Jesus at a time when feminist scholarship, critical theory, interreligious dialogue, postcolonial criticism, and liberation theologies have pointed to the interconnections between knowledge and power at work in positivistic scientific circles. It is also no accident that such an explosion of Jesus books has taken place at a time when the media have discovered the "angry white male syndrome" that fuels neo-fascist movements in Europe and the U.S.

The answer to this commodification of "Jesus" is not a rejection of critical scholarship and Jesus research but a call for their investigation in terms of ideology critique and ethics. By claiming to produce knowledge about the "real" Jesus, Schussler Fiorenza points out, malestream as well as feminist scholars deny the rhetoricity of their research and refuse to stand accountable for their reconstructive cultural models and theological interests. Hence, she calls for an ethics of interpretation that can explore such a scholarly politics of meaning, rather than continue its ideological discourses on "Jesus and Women" that are fraught with bothanti-Judaism and anti-feminism.

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