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[A Modest Manifesto for New Testament Literary Criticism: How to Interface with a Literary Studies Field that is Post-Literary, Post-Theoretical, and Post-Methodological, Psalm 88 and the Holocaust: Lament in Search of a Divine Response]

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[Most biblical lament psalms provide sufferers with a theodic response to their plight, often marked by the typical shift to praise expressed in these psalms. In individual laments, even while God's fairness is questioned, usually implicitly, ultimately God's relationship to the supplicants' troubles is justified, usually by an insistence on God's justice. Psalm 88 is a singular exception to this generic rule. There is no shift to praise, no attempt to render the supplicant's suffering meaningful (though one might not realize this based on the insistence of commentators to read the psalm theodically). This anomaly, coupled with the psalm's undiluted indictment of God, makes Psalm 88 an ideal biblical prayer for a Post-Holocaust world., A tale of two disciplines, this article critically surveys the ways in which New Testament scholars have adopted and adapted major developments in literary studies of the past two decades, notably poststructuralism, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, queer theory, and masculinity studies. Cultural studies, the article argues, is the literary studies phenomenon that most tellingly sets the fox among the chickens; likewise in biblical studies, cultural studies constitutes the most serious (and salutary) threat to the inherited identity of the discipline. More broadly, the article contends that all of the major recent developments in literary studies are post-methodological in thrust, and thus constitute a timely challenge to biblical scholars to acknowledge their own fetish for methodology, understand what impels it, and move beyond it.]


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