By Eryl W. Davies

This advisor for the puzzled will show how glossy biblical students have expressed dissatisfaction with a one-sided historical-critical method of biblical texts and feature argued that advancements in secular literary idea might be utilized in religious study. while the historical-critical process used to be excited about the instant of a text's creation (authorship, date, position of writing etc), the literary procedure is worried with the instant of the text's reception. Eryl W. Davies indicates how and why techniques reminiscent of ‘reader-response criticism', ‘feminist criticism', ‘ideological criticism', ‘canonical feedback' and ‘post-colonial feedback' at the moment are gaining popularity in lots of quarters. the amount explains to the uninitiated in a readable and available shape how innovations initially derived from secular literary feedback were followed through biblical students that allows you to comprehend the textual content of Scripture and to understand its relevance.

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It is therefore in the interest of all interpreters of the Bible to produce readings that are plausible, for if there is no group or community that is persuaded by a given interpretation, that interpretation will simply not survive. indd 28 11/9/2012 4:50:00 AM READER-RESPONSE CRITICISM 29 perhaps, by such illustrious professional societies as the Society for Old Testament Study or the Society of Biblical Literature); if the readers are members of a church or synagogue, their interpretation will similarly fi nd acceptance or rejection within the religious community of which they are part.

The narrator is manipulating us to distance ourselves from the disciples and align ourselves with Jesus. We are actually closer to Jesus than his own disciples were! As the gospel proceeds, the disciples gradually regress further in insight and understanding and become increasingly removed from Jesus until, at the end, the distance between them has become total and they betray, deny and abandon him in his hour of need. ’ the answer is plain: the gospel invites us, as readers, to assume the mantle of discipleship and challenges us to remain faithful even as the original disciples of Jesus had failed to live up to their calling.

Another example may be found in the portrayal of the character of Peter in Mark’s gospel. We are informed at the beginning of the gospel that when Jesus appointed the 12 disciples, he gave Simon the name Peter, and the reader will no doubt recall the play on the name Peter (‘rock’) in Matthew’s gospel (‘And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church’; Mt. 18). 53–72). ’ Another example of irony in the gospel occurs in the crucifi xion scene. 32). Of course there is here, in a sense, a double irony, for the mocking taunt of the chief priests and scribes is intended ironically; but for readers of the gospel there is another irony here, for what is clear to them, but hidden from the characters in the story, is that their mocking words are true!

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