Cover image for Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture By Douglas S. Earl

Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture

Douglas S. Earl

BUY

$37.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-701-8

296 pages
6" × 9"
2010

Journal of Theological Interpretation Supplements

Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture

Douglas S. Earl

The book of Joshua has been received and used as Christian Scripture throughout Christian history. The challenge today, however, is how Christians should appropriately continue to read Joshua as Scripture, not least in the light of well-known historical and ethical difficulties with the narrative. In Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture, Douglas Earl draws on conceptual resources offered by recent anthropological approaches to myth and combines this with a close literary reading of the text, in order to argue that Joshua is misconstrued when it is treated as a historical account of conquest. Instead, in its ancient Israelite context Joshua functioned to reshape accepted norms of community identity, as reflected in the book of Deuteronomy, by forming a new “cultural memory.” Furthermore, Earl reconsiders the traditional notion of the “spiritual sense” of Scripture in terms of a rich account of symbol and also makes use of the narrative hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur. The result is a fresh and unexpected reading of Joshua as Christian Scripture that develops the original function of the narrative in a way that resonates with classic premodern readings and is also challenging to contemporary Christian understandings of identity and faithfulness.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
The book of Joshua has been received and used as Christian Scripture throughout Christian history. The challenge today, however, is how Christians should appropriately continue to read Joshua as Scripture, not least in the light of well-known historical and ethical difficulties with the narrative. In Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture, Douglas Earl draws on conceptual resources offered by recent anthropological approaches to myth and combines this with a close literary reading of the text, in order to argue that Joshua is misconstrued when it is treated as a historical account of conquest. Instead, in its ancient Israelite context Joshua functioned to reshape accepted norms of community identity, as reflected in the book of Deuteronomy, by forming a new “cultural memory.” Furthermore, Earl reconsiders the traditional notion of the “spiritual sense” of Scripture in terms of a rich account of symbol and also makes use of the narrative hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur. The result is a fresh and unexpected reading of Joshua as Christian Scripture that develops the original function of the narrative in a way that resonates with classic premodern readings and is also challenging to contemporary Christian understandings of identity and faithfulness.

Preface

Abbreviations

SECTION I: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HERMENEUTICS OF READING JOSHUA AS CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE

1: READING JOSHUA AS CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE?

Introduction – a Sketch of the Problem

Cultural Memory

The Old Testament in the Christian Tradition

The Nature of Scripture and How We Learn to Speak of God

2: LEARNING TO SPEAK OF GOD THROUGH MYTH –

APPROACHING JOSHUA AS MYTH

An Introduction to Myth

Ideological, Sociological and Political Approaches to Myth

Psychological Approaches to Myth

Existential and Symbolic Approaches to Myth

Structuralist Approaches to Myth

Reading Joshua with Mythical Perspectives

3: THE HERMENEUTICS OF READING JOSHUA AS CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE

The Hermeneutics of Texts

The Significance of Testimony

The Life of Symbols

Summary

SECTION II: MAKING JOSHUA INTELLIGIBLE AS DISCOURSE: STARTING TO READ WELL

4: JOSHUA AS PART OF TRADITION(S)

Deuteronom(ist)ic Affinities in Joshua

Priestly Affinities in Joshua

A Summary of the Deuteronomistic and Priestly Affinities in Joshua

The Significance of the Deuteronom(ist)ic and Priestly Affinities in Joshua

5: THE GENRE OF JOSHUA – CODES OF PRODUCTION AND USE OF LITERARY CONVENTIONS

Similarities Between Joshua and ANE Conquest Accounts

Differences Between Joshua and ANE Conquest Accounts

Summary

6: UNDERSTANDING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ~rx

Re-examining the ‘Priestly-like’ Approaches to ~rx in the Non-priestly Literature

A Mythical Approach to the Deuteronomistic ~rx

Conclusions

SECTION III: READING JOSHUA

7: THE TEXT OF JOSHUA

Differences in the Textual Witnesses to Joshua

The Significance of the Choice of Text for Christian Reading

Summary

8: READING JOSHUA

Joshua 1

Joshua 2

Joshua 3-4

Joshua 5:1-12

Joshua 5:13-15

Joshua 6

Joshua 7:1-8:29

Joshua 8:30-35

Joshua 9-10

Joshua 11-12

Joshua 13-21

Joshua 22

Joshua 23

Joshua 24

9: DRAWING IT ALL TOGETHER: READING JOSHUA AS CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE TODAY

Joshua – Challenging and Constructing Identity

Appropriating Joshua – the Development and Use of its symbols and Mythemes

Appropriating Joshua – its Development and Use as an Act of Discourse as Myth

The Context and Use of Joshua

Conclusion

Bibliography

Indexes of Subjects, Authors, Scripture

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