Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Najman on philology

FULL TEXT ONLINE FOR FREE: Hindy Najman, Ethical Reading: The Transformation of the Text and the Self. The Journal of Theological Studies, Volume 68, Issue 2, 1 October 2017, Pages 507–529.
This article calls for an integration of the study of the Bible into the Humanities, taking into account the extensive knowledge we now possess of the traditions of the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical traditions in the light of the discoveries from the Cairo Geniza and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Instead of studying the Bible cut off from the Humanities and the critical engagement with Classics and medieval philology, the goal is to bring the study of the Bible back into the centre along with classical and modern writers. These later writers draw on the Bible but also, and reciprocally, use contemporary thinking about philology and critical theory, and current work on reading practices and the transformation of the self. There are paths that were not taken over two centuries ago when classical philology and Hebrew philology were bedfellows. Since that time biblical philology has in many ways been frozen in the search for the original text. This article advocates studying the Bible and biblical tradition in a dynamic and forward-moving context where texts are being rewritten and transformed in a variety of ways in linguistic and cultural contexts. It returns to paths that were not taken and reconnects with figures such as Peter Szondi, Friedrich Schlegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gershom Scholem, and Goethe. Biblicists, classicists, and scholars of literature are urged to engage and re-engage with the traditions in ways that are creative and field-changing for the composition and reception of the textual traditions. The Bible is an evolving collection of texts which is transformed not only through translation and interpretation but also through reading and the transformation of the self. We are drawn out of our own time, out of the present, and towards the past.

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