Mark and Luke in Poststructuralist Perspectives


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Jesus Begins to Write

Stephen D. Moore

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"What is the lesson of that other, newly sprung tree (the cross) in whose bark Mark has carved his Gospel (for this is a book that bleeds)? Is it that Jesus's body, grafted onto the cross, became one with it, and thus became tree, branch, book, and leaf, inscribed with letters of blood, can now at last be read, no longer an indecipherable code but an open codex? And that in its (now) re(a)d(able) ink, lately invisible, the message that was scratched into the fig tree is transcribed: outside the gates, but only just, the summer Son is shining in full strength?"--Stephen D. Moore
In this book Stephen D. Moore offers a dazzling new reading of the Gospels of Mark and Luke, applying the poststructuralist techniques of Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault to illuminate these texts in a way that no one has done before. Written with wit and a sensitivity to words--and wordplay--that is reminiscent of Moore's fellow countryman James Joyce, the book is also deeply learned, impressive in its detailed knowledge of previous scholarship as well as in the challenges it presents to that scholarship.
Moore argues that whereas the language of the Gospels is concrete, pictorial, and often startling, the language of modern gospel scholarship tends to be propositional and abstract. Calling himself a New Test-what-is-meant scholar, he approaches the Gospels of Mark and Luke as though they were pictograms or dreamwork to decipher and interpret, writing a response that is no less visceral and immediate than the biblical texts themselves.

"This book is superbly well versed in the theory and practice of deconstruction and in contemporary biblical scholarship with regard to Mark and Luke-Acts. It brings those twin aspects together in an extremely and mutually enlightening manner."—John Dominic Crossan

"A major book in the new genre of the application to biblical scholarship of recent developments in literary criticism—brilliantly provocative and original, learned, forcefully and powerfully written, and persuasive in its readings."—J. Hillis Miller, University of California, Irvine

"Witty at times and always sensitive to words and wordplay. . . . Without a doubt, Moore has show how the techniques of deconstruction permit a different reading of the gospels."—Choice

"This is one of the finest books on Paul published in recent years. . . . Dr. Segal offers a sensitive appraisal of the evidence which is of great interest to readers of all religious persuasions, or none."—Graham Stanton, Theology

"In this book, Moore makes special use of the thought and literary techniques of the French thinkers Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault to present a postmodernist interpretation of Mark and Luke. . . . A fascinating study."—Jack Dean Kingsbury, Interpretation: A Journal of Bible & Theology

"It is hard to imagine a lukewarm response to this book. It is a tour de force, demanding passionate response, whether that be hot or cold. . . . [It] plunges us deep into a virtuoso performance of poststructuralist reading of two Gospels, Mark and Luke. Can deconstruction 'work' with the Gospels? This book demonstrates that it can, uncannily. . . . [This is] the work of a master craftsman who has studied the house of biblical criticism so painstakingly that he finds skeletons where most did not realize there were closets."—Robert M. Fowler, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"Stephen Moore has written an important and provocative book that should not be lightly dismissed by the biblical guild. . . . [It] deserves to be read not only by biblical scholars but by secular literary critics and theologians as well."—Jeffrey L. Staley, Journal of Biblical Literature

ISBN: 9780300051971
Publication Date: March 25, 1992
192 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4