In this paper the relationship between two prominent modes of discourse in biblical scholarship, Historical Criticism and Reception History, is examined. Often seen as discrete alternative approaches to the biblical texts, the assumed division between the two is often reflected in the Academy’s evaluation of their subject matter, with work on later cultural artefacts being seen as somehow ‘lesser’ than work on, say, the historical Paul or Jesus. Taking Barton and Muddiman’s ‘chastened Historical Criticism’ as a dialogue partner, this paper considers three possible characterisations of their inter-relationship. First, that they are indeed separate. Second, that they share a common element, either (a) with the concerns of Reception History being central to certain historical-critical methodologies (e.g. Redaction Criticism), or (b) with the essential and imaginative role of the historical-critical scholar in the construction of ‘audiences’ being taken to imply that all such approaches are a sub-set of ‘Reception History’, one in which a real contemporary response is usually ‘re-categorised’ as an ancient one. Or, third, that they somehow overlap—more or less—completely. Rejecting 1 and 2, this paper argues that the discipline of Biblical Studies is dominated by an overarching, if largely unrecognised, disciplinary framework in which every reading offered, whether scholarly, artistic, or sectarian, is—without exception—both a received reading (that is, a suitable topic for Reception History) and a historically located reading (that is, a subject requiring historical-critical investigative tools). What is now needed is an explicit recognition of this reality, a renewed interest in chastened historical approaches like that of Barton and Muddiman, a higher level of study of the impact of individuals on scholarly interpretations previously regarded as being ‘person-free’, and a much greater focus upon a wider set of ‘biblical readings'.
|Translated title of the contribution||Reception History and the Future (Subject-matter) of Biblical Studies|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2009|