© 2009

Subverting Scriptures

Critical Reflections on the Use of the Bible

  • Editors
  • Beth Hawkins Benedix

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. Beth Hawkins Benedix
      Pages 1-7
  3. Setting the Stage What Is Subversive Scripture?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg
      Pages 23-41
  4. Between Speech and Silence

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 43-43
    2. John K. Roth
      Pages 45-65
    3. John Felstiner
      Pages 67-91
  5. Revolution, Rebellion, Liberation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 93-93
    2. Qiuyi Tan
      Pages 95-107
    3. Ellin Sterne Jimmerson
      Pages 129-147
  6. Exposing the Will to Power

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
    2. Beth Hawkins Benedix
      Pages 151-176
    3. W. David Hall
      Pages 193-216
    4. Shaul Magid
      Pages 217-236
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 237-245

About this book


This collection seeks to fill the interdisciplinary space that addresses when, why, and how writers strategically reference the Bible for subversive or re-evaluative purposes. It explores the specific biblical pieces used this subversion, and why they are used, with reference to many contemporary sources.


Africa African America Appropriation Bible imagination irony Judaism philosophy revolution rhetoric slaves space violence William James

About the authors

BETH HAWKINS BENEDIX is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Literature Coordinator, Program in Jewish Studies, DePauw University, USA.

Bibliographic information


"This provides a new and convincing account of the strategic reception of the Bible in a wide range of writers and thinkers.That such a use can be truly subversive; that it can undermine the very meaning attached to biblical narratives by organized religion, is one of the surprising and exciting discoveries of this readable and intelligent book." - Sander L. Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Emory University

"This collection providesa wonderful array of essays attuned to the manifold literary and political uses and abuses of scripture in the contemporary world. The contributors show both theneed to subvert the presumptions of scriptureto overreach itshistorical contexts andscripture's power to remain a source of critique ofthe hubristic pretentions of secular culture . . .This collection is full of surprising treasures that serve to open new paths in the study of the relation between the Bible and postmodern culture." - Steven Kepnes, Murray W. and Mildred K. Finard Professor in Jewish Studies and Religion,Colgate University

"This could not be more timely or more crucial; in a period where we are ever more conscious of the effect of the appropriation, manipulation, subversion, or reinterpretation of canonical religious texts for at times bewildering variety of purposes, any attempt to examine the phenomenon is highly welcome...The 'subversive' literary works covered in the contributors' selections constitute a dazzling array of choices. They provide ample proof of the book's value as a vital way of thinking about international literary culture. This has the potential to be a frequently consulted and often thumbed anthology of secondary literature that creatively rediscovers a perennially absorbing topic." - Jeremy Dauber, Associate Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, Columbia University