Rewriting Moses The Narrative Eclipse of the Text Synopsis
Exalted for centuries as a hero and author of the Bible, Moses is inseparable from biblical tradition itself. Moses is also an inherently ambiguous figure and a perennial focus of controversy, from ancient disputes of priestly rivalry to modern issues of class, gender and race. In Rewriting Moses, Brian Britt analyzes elements of polemic and ideology in the Moses of the Bible, on film, in novels, visual art and scholarship. He argues that the biblical Moses lives within writing, while the post-biblical Moses lives more often in biography. Yet later rewritings of Moses refract biblical traditions of writing in surprising ways. Rewriting Moses provides an original account of the Freudian insight that traditions preserve what they repress. This is fourteenth volume in the Gender, Cutlure, Theory series and is volume 402 in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplemens series.
Rewriting Moses The Narrative Eclipse of the Text Press Reviews
. ..Britt's decision tomove in chronological reverse succeeds admirably. Rewriting Moses carries the reader back through two and a halfmillennia of tradition about Moses and finds a strange and elusive being whosehidden birth and hidden death frame a life that struggles with the hiddennessof lonely mountaintops and a veiled face. This book manages to bring togethermodern cultural analysis and rich, creative biblical exegesis in a complexityworthy of the character for which it searches. - Mark McEntire, The Society of Biblical Literature, December2005 Review International Review of Biblical Studies, vol 51, 2004/05 mentioned in Biblica--Steven Weitzman mentioned in Biblica--, . ..Britt's decision to move in chronological reverse succeeds admirably. Rewriting Moses carries the reader back through two and a half millennia of tradition about Moses and finds a strange and elusive being whose hidden birth and hidden death frame a life that struggles with the hiddenness of lonely mountaintops and a veiled face. This book manages to bring together modern cultural analysis and rich, creative biblical exegesis in a complexity worthy of the character for which it searches. - Mark McEntire, The Society of Biblical Literature, December 2005 employs an eclectic mix of traditional historical methods with recent hermeneutical and ideological approaches...Readers will gain fresh insight into the variety and profundity of the biblical and post-biblical traditions about Moses. Britt is a skilled critic and moves seamlessly between film, art, literature, and the biblical text itself.--Sanford Lakoff Expository Times 'This volume serves multiple functions for diverse readers. Anyone interested in modern representations of Moses will appreciate the chapters on Moses in novels and films, and Britt provides a helpful overview of modern biblical scholars' approach to legend and history in the biblical stories about Moses...fascinating.' R. Christopher Heard, Pepperdine University, Interpretations, July 2006--Sanford Lakoff Interpretation Brian Britt has written a fascinating book on the relationship between the Moses traditions, writing (used in the broader, Derridian sense of 'textuality' that would include novels, paintings and films), and revelation. As cultural critic, he traces the development of biblical and post -biblical traditions about Moses, Interestingly, he does it backwards: from modern to ancient interpreters. Following Freud and Frederic Jameson, Britt maintains that traditions, 'anxious to address crises but loathe to confront them' (17), repress them instead. But what is repressed, of course, is never completely forgotten and has a way of returning in interesting ways. The title of the book echoes The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative by Hans Frei, who argues that modern historical research has eclipsed attention to biblical narrative. Of course, today, biblical scholars question earlier interpreters' fragmentation of the text and, instead, emphasise its narrative artistry. Britt takes a middle position here, integrating literary criticism with historical criticism effectively. This is a gem of a book! Britt is a superb reader of Scripture. He keeps the reader interested and engaged. Be warned, however: chapters six and seven are not easy reading. The book is not a text for undergraduates. For biblical scholars who are interested in postmodern approaches (especially Derridian) to the Bible, this is a must read; it will probably become a classic. --Sanford Lakoff mentioned in Biblica--Sanford Lakoff