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Retellings: The Bible in Literature, Music, Art and Film

ISBN: 900416572X

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Retellings The Bible in Literature Music Art and Film

J. Cheryl Exum, "Retellings: The Bible in Literature, Music, Art and Film"
Brill Academic Publishers | 2008 | ISBN: 900416572X | 200 pages | PDF | 2,4 MB

Editorial Preface
The Bible has played an inspirational role in the literature, music and art
of Western culture for centuries, and the various treatments the Bible has
received in literature, music and the visual arts have, in turn, influenced
the way the Bible is read. From its earliest beginnings, film has entered
the picture as another influential medium for bringing biblical stories
and characters to life for millions of viewers, many of whom have little
knowledge of the Bible itself.
In recent years biblical scholars and students have become increasingly
interested in studying retellings of biblical stories in the arts, not only
for their relation to the biblical text but also for the ‘story’ they have to
tell (or, if they are not strictly ‘retellings’, for the light they might shed
on the biblical text). Analysing retellings based on biblical characters or
stories is not a matter of looking at the text and then asking how the
literary, musical, or visual representation ‘got it right’ or ‘got it wrong’. A
retelling of a biblical event or story, as the contributions to this volume
reveal, is more than a simple transposition of a text onto a page, a canvas,
a stage or celluloid. The retelling is itself an interpretation of the text and
deserves to be studied for its own particular insights into and its time-
and culture-bound perspective on the text. These insights and perspectives
often can lead us to see something in the text we might have missed, or
can help us appreciate the richness or complexity of the text, or encourage
us to interrogate the text and its time- and culture-bound perspective or
The present collection of essays on this important topic is appearing
concurrently in a special issue of the journal Biblical Interpretation. Since
it was founded in 1993, Biblical Interpretation has played a key role in
fostering the publication of articles in the newly developing area of the
reception history of the Bible in the arts. In addition to articles in regular
issues of the journal, two special issues of Biblical Interpretation have been
devoted especially to this topic, Beyond the Biblical Horizon: e Bible and
the Arts (1999) and e Bible in Film/the Bible and Film (2006). Now, with
Retellings, Biblical Interpretation is publishing for the first time articles on
the Bible in music, together with a diverse collection of essays dealing with
the Bible and literature, art and film. Music is something of a newcomer
to the study of the Bible and the arts, perhaps because it has been more
difficult to make a musical score accessible to readers, and because, to deal
with more than a libretto, a scholar must know not only about the Bible
but also about music. Unlike art, where we can all see, for example, a
painting before us and follow an argument about it, we cannot hear the
music that is discussed in a scholarly article. But this is all changing, and
analysis of the use of the Bible in music is being more and more represented
in print as well as at scholarly meetings (the Society of Biblical Literature,
for example, has sessions on the Bible and music at both its national and
international meetings).
The eight contributions to this volume illustrate a range of exciting
approaches to retellings of the Bible in literature, music, art and film and
reveal something of the scope of this fascinating and rapidly expanding
area of inquiry.


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