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Comparing the ‘Telegraph Bible’ of the Late British Empire to the Chaotic Bible of the Sixteenth Century Spanish Empire: Beyond the Canaan Mandate into Anxious Parables of the Land

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Chapter Summary

Postcolonial studies in Biblical Studies have their roots in Liberation Theology with strong roots in Latin America. In a rare allusion to the sixteenth century Spanish empire, Mark Brett seizes on pieces that conform to scholarly edifices of the Bible and Empire that have already been established. The Telegraph Bible refers to a Bible that was on message and that could be reduced to a few precise gestures; and a Bible that was structured by a few simple coercive contrasts like the dot-dash binary of Morse code. In order to show how sixteenth century writers exploited inner-biblical divisions, this chapter focuses on the strategic manipulation of conflicting biblical traditions of 'the land. It compares Sahagún's bleak parable of the sower and figures of a God-deserted wasteland with systems of evangelical husbandry in the nineteenth century British Empire.

Keywords: Biblical Studies; God-deserted wasteland; Latin America; liberation theology; Mark Brett; Morse Code; nineteenth century British Empire; Sahagún; sixteenth century Spanish empire; Telegraph Bible

10.1163/9789004259126_003
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