Current Issue

Volume 1 Issue 1

Autumn 2019


Meredith J C Warren, “Editorial Preface,” 1-5.
Caroline Blyth, “Bringing the Apostle Down to Earth: Emily Dickinson Wrestles with Paul,” 6-25.

KEYWORDS: Emily Dickinson, Paul, literary criticism


While Emily Dickinson included many allusions to the biblical texts in her writing, this article focuses on her engagement with one particular biblical writer—the apostle Paul. Dickinson makes a number of references to Paul in her letters and poetry, often in ways that thoroughly unbalance what she considered to be his spiritual and heaven-centred gaze, thrusting it earthwards to bring new and unexpected meaning to matters such as friendship, love, death, suffering, and desire. Through taking a closer look at her writings in which she engages with the apostle, I consider Dickinson’s obvious desire to engage with Paul’s writings and her regular rejection of certain features of Pauline theology in favour of her own earth-centred spirituality. In particular, I explore the ways in which Dickinson’s faith stands at times uneasily alongside that of Paul, in her focus on the dreaded uncertainty of life after death and her unshakeable delight for a world in which both pain and paradise could be encountered.
Chris Greenough, “‘Queer Eye’ in Theology and Biblical Studies: ‘Do you have to be queer to do this?‘” 26-41.

KEYWORDS: heterosexuality, queer, theology, biblical studies, straight, identity


This article addresses the question of whether one needs to be LGBTQ+ or queer-identifying in order to engage in queer studies in theology and biblical studies. In surveying the popularity of queer as cultural currency in the media and the academy, I express concern with queer studies being undertaken as if it were one approach among others, arguing that it is an “anti-approach”. In directly responding to the question, “do you have to be queer to do this?” I argue that one does not need to be queer identified to engage with queer theologies or queer biblical studies. Four points are made about the engagement of heterosexual identifying intellectuals in queer studies: i) queer theory reveals how all identities are unstable, including heterosexuality; ii) heterosexuality is not the site of disruption for queer studies—it is patriarchy, cisnormativity and heteronormativity that require dismantling; iii) queer is about the production of antinormative knowledge, a practice that anyone can engage in; iv) where queer studies are also done in conjunction with nonnormative gender and sexualities, researchers must incorporate voices from those individuals or communities. The article concludes that there should be no concern about straight-identifying individuals doing queer studies, but we should be careful that queer theologies and queer biblical studies do not become “straight” and normative.
Matthew R. Anderson, “‘Aware-Settler’ Biblical Studies: Breaking Claims of Textual Ownership,” 42-68.

KEYWORDS: aware-Settler, Indigenous, Settler, hermeneutics, biblical scholarship


“Aware-Settler” is a term coined here to describe the various hermeneutics that arise as increasingly, non-Indigenous biblical scholars take seriously that their research is done on colonized Land. Paying special attention to the principle of possessiveness, the article suggests breaking stubborn Settler-scholar hidden-default assumptions of ownership, proposing instead that biblical texts might be understood as another form of “Treaty territory.” Indigenous scholars’ common emphases on Landedness, relationality, spirituality, and community good, can inform methodologies employed by Settler biblical scholars. These hermeneutical principles, learned in a contact zone characterized by attention to reciprocity and respect, are employed in a brief look at Matthew 28:25–28. The so-called Great Commission is a foundational text of colonialism; many Indigenous scholars have judged it as “unreadable.” For that reason it provides a particularly appropriate test-case for applying Aware-Settler hermeneutics focussed on breaking claims of identity and ownership.
A. K. M. Adam, “Sensuous Hermeneutics,” 69-94.

KEYWORDS: hermeneutics, interpretation, visual exegesis, information design, comics theory, Magritte, Tansey, differential hermeneutics


The single greatest impediment to clarity in hermeneutics arises from the intuition that words have meaning as a property. This essay will show an alternative to the hermeneutics of subsistent meaning, displaying a way to think about hermeneutics as an interplay of expression and apprehension. By learning about “meaning” from the more pervasive phenomenon of inference and apprehension and reasoning toward language as a special case — rather than beginning from language (which harbours subsistent “meaning”) and treating other patterns of apprehension as “the language of music,” “the language of flowers,” and so on — we can articulate a hermeneutic that better explains interpretive difference, and provides ways to evaluating interpretive claims outwith the customary bounds of exegetical correctness.
Anna Cwikla, “There’s Nothing about Mary: The Insignificance of Mary in the Gospel of Thomas 114,” 95-112.

KEYWORDS: Gospel of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Eve Sedgwick, feminist criticism


Feminist approaches to early Christian texts have consistently evaluated female characters as the primary focus of analysis. Yet in doing so, placing the spotlight on the female figure inevitably pushes male figures, and by extension, the broader context to the margins. This type of analysis runs the risk of overemphasizing the role of a woman in a given text while neglecting their narrative function in relation to male characters. This article looks specifically of Mary in the Gospel of Thomas. Previously, her role has seen her as one of the disciples in this text. But using Eve Sedgwick’s homosocial bond theory reveals that Gos. Thom. wishes to emphasize the relationship between Jesus and Peter more so than it does Mary. This example is but a case in point in seeing that although our focus as modern scholars shifts to the woman, the ancient text is more so concerned about the iteration of power structures between men over women.
Katie Edwards, “Rape Myths and Gospels Truths: The Bible and Rape Culture,” PAGES. **COMING SOON**