Book Notice: Kelly R. Iverson, From Text to Performance (Skinner)

Iverson.BookRecently I was thrilled to receive a copy of my friend, Kelly Iverson‘s new edited volume, From Text to Performance: Narrative and Performance Criticisms in Dialogue and Debate (Biblical Performance Criticism; Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2014). This is an area in which Kelly has been working seriously for some time now. When we were in the process of editing one of our previous volumes, Mark as Story: Retrospect and Prospect, one of the conversations that guided our choices of contributors was the growing recognition among many that the next organic step after narrative criticism is performance criticism. Consequently, there’s a fairly distinct emphasis on performance in that book–something numerous reviewers have noted. (BTW, if you’re not acquainted with performance criticism, you can find a great deal of information here.) I have also recently given some attention to the burgeoning discipline of performance criticism at the end of my survey of Markan research on character.

Here’s a description from the back of the book:

For the last two centuries biblical interpretation has been guided by perspectives that have largely ignored the oral context in which the gospels took shape. Only recently have scholars begun to explore how ancient media inform the interpretive process and an understanding of the Bible. This collection of essays, by authors who recognize that the Jesus tradition was a story heard and performed, seeks to reevaluate the constituent elements of narrative, including characters, structure, narrator, time, and intertextuality. In dialogue with traditional literary approaches, these essays demonstrate that an appreciation of performance yields fresh insights distinguishable in many respects from results of literary or narrative readings of the gospels.

Contributors include David Rhoads, Joanna Dewey, Philip Ruge-Jones, Holly Hearon, Thomas Boomershine, Margaret Lee, Kathy Maxwell, and Richard Swanson.


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