By John J. Collins
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Additional resources for The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age
Yet in the same essay we read that "deconstructive reading relies necessarily on traditional historical criticism as `an indispensable guardrail' or `safeguard' for reading. "56 Mieke Bal denies that interpretation can be text-based, but continues: The text is not an object upon which we can operate; it is another subject that speaks to us. We can listen, and just as in real life, we will hear our own voice reflected; yet we cannot attribute just anything to the other speaker. If we shout too loud, so that the other is reduced to silence, we will lack arguments to make our case.
69 I choose this example, from her dissertation, because of its methodological explicitness and clarity, although these very features make it somewhat atypical of the genre. 70 But this simpler example may illustrate the basic method more effectively for introductory purposes. According to Sherwood, the rhetorical strategy of Hosea 1-2 can be reduced to three essential premises: i. Israel was initially pure. 2. She betrayed YHWH by pursuit of Baal. 3. YHWH threatened Israel with rejection, but ultimately restored her to favor.
30 To be sure, his treatment of some documents seems unduly skeptical. 34 It is precisely the lack of primary documents attesting key episodes in the history of Israel that gives rise to the skepticism of Lemche and Thompson. , in the case of David and Solomon). It maybe true, as Dever suggests, that there is an element of rebellion against religious authority in this discussion. It does not seem to me, however, that either Lemche or Thompson has an evident postmodern agenda. The crisis in historiography in the study of ancient Israel does not arise from philosophical predispositions but from the limitations of the available evidence.