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viii + 161 pp.

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Troublesome Texts
The Bible in Colonial and Contemporary Culture
R.S. Sugirtharajah

The nine substantial essays in this volume deal with three wide-ranging though interconnected issues: the perceived status and standing of the Bible today; aspects of the current state of biblical studies, especially the uneasy tension between the increasingly esoteric agenda of mainstream scholarship and the hermeneutical concerns of those occupied with marginal readings; the significance of postcolonial scholarship and pointers for its future at a time when empire has once again become a reality and a global subject of debate.

Among the essays here are an examination of Victorian reconstructions of the life of Jesus and of the Buddha, and how these discourses were moulded and motivated by orientalism, colonialism, race and issues of British national identity; the complexities of the use of the Bible in Sri Lanka, war-torn and beset with communal strife, when the Bible itself is rife with vengeance and punishment; the political and hermeneutical ramifications of the Asian tsunami, and the use of natural disasters for decolonization and recolonization; imperial intentions and a postcolonial sub-text evident in the Johannine letters; the fortunes of the English Bible as its promoters struggle to uphold its credibility in a market-driven culture; suicide-bombing and asylum-seeking. All of these are issues of global significance and concern, but they are hardly ever addressed by biblical scholars.

The essays contain both theoretical discussion and practical questions as to the usefulness of the Bible at a time when its contested role has been complicated by its tainted association with oppressive causes.


R.S. Sugirtharajah is Professor of Biblical Hermeneutics in the University of Birmingham, England.

Series: Bible in the Modern World, 17
978-1-906055-38-7 hardback
Publication June 2008