Wednesday, June 17, 2009

influences: on how I read the Bible

Here are 10 most immediate and lasting influences on how I read the Bible that were not named in the earlier post:
  1. Ruth Behar, The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart
  2. Anne Carson, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho
  3. Cheryl Glenn, Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance
  4. bell hooks, Yearning: race, gender, and cultural politics
  5. Gayl Jones, Corregidora
  6. Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
  7. Nancy Mairs, Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer
  8. Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
  9. Krista Ratcliffe, Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness
  10. Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose
These writers and these works of theirs in various ways inform my readings of the Bible. Some of you wanted me to mention Willis Barnstone on jewish translation of the jewish new covenant; C. S. Lewis on second meanings and humble non-jewish christian reflections on the psalms; William Webb on hermeneutics and male, free, straight perspectives on women, slaves, and gays; Ann Nyland on classics and bible translation; Francis Schaeffer and my own son named at the end of postmodernist David Hopkins's essay rationalizing his own goatee; James K. A. Smith's fall of interpretation. And I really wanted to say something about Hélène Cixous and having to read her articles in translation only; and about Sherry Simon and Luise von Flotow and canadian feminist translating; and about Aspasia forgotten; and Maya Angelou's insistence on reading Aristotle. "Our Father has a bone to pick with this world," I want to quote instead; "... and oh, he picks it like a sore. Picks it with the Word. His punishment is the Word, and his deficiencies are failures of words as when he grows impatient with translation and strikes out precariously on his own, telling parables in his wildly half-baked Kikongo." (But then, if I did say that, you'd recognize I was quoting from "The Judges" of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and you might think it was one of Nathan Price's daughters.)


Anonymous said...

Finally, a list without the deserving but nonetheless usual suspects! For biblical scholars who use authors from your second list:

Nyasha Junior: bell hooks, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison

Jeremy Schipper: Nancy Mairs, at least her writings on disability


J. K. Gayle said...

Jill - Thank you. At least there are two such scholars. (Julia M. O'Brien did mention bell hooks at her blog last month. I really like Jared Calaway's not-the-usual list, don't you?)