Five Book Meme

Yikes! So, Art tagged me way back when, and I missed it, and the meme has passed. But if I were of a disposition to be able to leave a loose end untied, I wouldn’t have completed even a week of grad school.

“Name 5 books or scholars that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible.” (The collected links to other five-book-meme-ing bibliobloggers are at the bottom of Biblical Studies Carnival 43. Congratulations on your discovery, Patrick!)

Duane’s caveat pertains: this is the list for today. Ask me tomorrow or the next day, you will likely get a very different list.

Here we go:

  • Clark M. Williamson, A Guest in the House of Israel. Two thousands years of Christian teaching of contempt for Judasim, including the most unlikely candidates (like Bonhoeffer and Barth). Only one chapter is on scripture, but the whole book has made me alert to the double standard by which Christians read the OT (good stuff = proto-Christianity, bad stuff = proto-Judaism).
  • Thorkild Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion. My Intro to OT teacher, J. Gerald Janzen, had us read this before we read the Hebrew Bible. I still find myself reading God in the OT in terms of the providential numen, the king, and the parent, and blendings of the three.
  • Shlomith Rimon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics (2nd rev. ed.). There are plenty of great lights in biblical narrative criticism, but it took a critic from outside the field to make for me of narrative criticism a truly organized and phenomenological undertaking. Reading biblical narrative critics allowed me to appreciate the approach, but it took Rimmon-Kenan to teach me to do it.
  • J.R.R. Tokien, LOTR and Silmarillion. Sorry, but this soaked into me so early that I compare everything to it. For me, the stories of Middle Earth will always constitute “the canon that got there first.”
  • David Sibley, Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Sibley taught me to go beyond bird listing and into bird watching. Even your 500th Red-wing Blackbird still has something to teach, some wonder to disclose. What is true of my 500th Red-wing Blackbird is true, then, of my 500th reading of Gen 22, Psalm 23, or 2 Sam 7.

I don’t know that there can be anyone left in the biblioblogistanosphere to tag, and I’m ambivilent anyway about tagging at the tail end of a meme’s natural lifespan. If anyone comes on this post and wants to scoop it up into some other corner of the web, then consider yourself tagged and have fun.

2 Responses

  1. you should go ahead and do the 5 primary source “meme’ as well.

  2. […] on this meme. DanielandTonya, while kindly stopping by to see my “Five Books or Scholars” post, invited my response to this one. I like the idea, I just wish it were easier to narrow things down. As before, […]

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