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A Secular Bible?

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

AbstractWhat has been called secular criticism among some scholars in the Society of Biblical Literature has been pursued as a critique and alternative to traditional theological studies. The question is whether the term secular is being used to describe a method, characterize the biblical literature, or propose a postmodern hermeneutic for a secular age. The article explores these issues to find that secular criticism has not been able to escape the assumption of biblical authority by criticizing theological interpretations. The alternative would be to study the Christian myth embedded in the Bible and render a cultural critique.

Affiliations: 1: Claremont Graduate University608 West Ninth Street, Claremont, CA


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1. Avalos Hector The End of Biblical Studies 2007 Amherst, New York Prometheus Books
2. Boer Roland Marxist Criticism of the Bible 1961 London New York: T&T Clark
3. Boer Roland Secularism and Biblical Studies 2010 London Equinox
4. Bultmann Rudolf "The case for demythologization. In K. Jaspers and R. Bultmann" Myth and Christianity: An Inquiry into the Possibility of Religion without Myth 1958 New York Noonday 57 71
5. Columbus Christopher The Diario of Christopher Columbus’s First Voyage to America, 1492-1493 1989 Norman University of Oklahoma Press Abstracted by Bartolome de las Casas; transcribed and translated into English, with notes and a concordance of the Spanish, by Oliver Dunn and James E. Kelley, Jr. The American Exploration and Travel Series
6. "The Culture Collective" The Postmodern Bible: The Bible and Culture Collective 1995 New Haven Yale University Press
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8. Durkheim Emile The Elementary Forms of the Religkious Life 1915 New York Free Press English translation of Les Formes elementaires de la vie religieuse(1912) by Joseph Ward Swain
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10. Levine George The Joy of Secularism: Eleven essays for how we live now 2011 Princeton, N.J. Princeton University Press
11. Marcus George E. , Fisher Michael M. J. Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An experimental moment in the human sciences 1986 Chicago The University of Chicago Press
12. McGowan John Postmodernism and Its Critics 1991 Ithaca and London Cornell University Press
13. Mizruchi Susan L. The Science of Sacrifice: American Literature and Modern Social Theory 1998 Princeton, New Jersey Princeton University Press [Crossref]
14. Reed Randall W. A Clash of Ideologies: Marxism, Literation Theology, and Apocalypticism in New Testament Studies 2010 Eugene, Oregon Pickwick
15. Robbins Jeffrey "Whistling in the dark: A response to Donald Wiebe" Bulletin of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion 2008 Vol 27 3 81 82
16. Smith Jonathan Z. "Secularism" The Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion 1995 Harper San Francisco 970 971
17. Taylor Charles A Secular Age 2007 Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press
18. Thompson Thomas L. The Mythic Past: Biblical Archeology and the Myth of Israel 1999 London Random House
19. Wiebe Donald "Secular theology is still theology, not the academic study of religion" Bulletin of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion 2008 Vol 37 3 77 81
20. Wood James "Is that all there is?: Secularism and its discontents" The New Yorker 2011 Vol 15 & 22 87 92

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