Melville's Bibles

Melville's Bibles

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Many writers in antebellum America sought to reinvent the Bible, but no one, Ilana Pardes argues, was as insistent as Melville on redefining biblical exegesis while doing so. In "Moby-Dick," he not only ventured to fashion a grand new inverted Bible in which biblical rebels and outcasts assume center stage, but also aspired to comment on every imaginable mode of biblical interpretation, calling for a radical reconsideration of the politics of biblical reception. In "Melville's Bibles," Pardes traces Melville's response to a whole array of nineteenth-century exegetical writings -literary scriptures, biblical scholarship, Holy Land travel narratives, political sermons, and women's bibles. She shows how Melville raised with unparalleled verve the question of what counts as Bible and what counts as interpretation.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 206 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13mm | 272g
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • 10 b-w photographs
  • 0520254554
  • 9780520254558
  • 1,580,869

Back cover copy

This is a splendid book, showing Ilana Pardes as a scholar-critic at the height of her powers. Distinguished and full of originality, Melville's Bibles brings into play a richly nuanced and minutely informed sense of the multiple roles of the Bible in antebellum American culture. This work is an important new understanding of the nature of Melville's major novel.--Robert Alter, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

With a command of Biblical scholarship and a keen textual sensitivity, Pardes deftly analyzes the ways in which Melville incorporates Biblical language, genre, plot, character, and debate in Moby-Dick. Few critics have captured Melville's Biblical apprehensions and pretensions as well as Pardes or with her intellectual range and sympathy.--Samuel Otter, Associate Professor of English, University of California, Berkeley
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Table of contents

List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Playing with Leviathan: Job and the Aesthetic Turn in Biblical Exegesis 2. "Jonah Historically Regarded": Improvisations on Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature 3. "Call Me Ishmael": The Bible and the Orient 4. Ahab, Idolatry, and the Question of Possession: Biblical Politics 5. Rachel's Inconsolable Cry: The Rise of Women's Bibles Epilogue Notes Index
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Review quote

"A fascinating account." * Review of Biblical Literature * "A well-researched, attractively written examination of the larger biblical context of Melville's masterpiece, and it provides a capable overview of a variety of nineteenth-century exegetical and hermeneutical traditions on the five Old Testament figures it scrutinizes." * Christianity and Literature * "Well argued and well written, this is a book for all students of Melville." * CHOICE * "Each of the book's five chapters is deftly written and certainly demonstrates Pardes' proficiency in the fields of literary criticism and biblical exegesis." * Missiology *
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About Ilana Pardes

Ilana Pardes is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She is the author of Countertraditions in the Bible: A Feminist Approach and The Biography of Ancient Israel: National Narratives in the Bible (UC Press).
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Rating details

7 ratings
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3 29% (2)
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