Book of the Week

Donald Harman Akenson, Surpassing Wonder. The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds. New York: Harcourt Brace; Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001. 672 p. $37.95 CAD. ISBN 9780773522893.

finding this volume is the bibliographical highlight for the end of this week. In a continuous search for the Bibliography one may find gems. I have found one yesterday evening. after reading a few pages I have realized that the alternative perspectives to the conventional readings, I was so eagerly hunting, were right under my nose (in one of my digital folders). what a night!

Discourse and Religion

The volume Discourse Research and Religion. Disciplinary Use and Interdisciplinary Dialogues, edited by Jay Johnston and Kocku von Stuckrad (Berlin-Boston: De Gruyter, 2021) is a comprehensive and systematic attempt to promote the discursive study of religion.

The discursive dimension in the production of knowledge allows a critical analysis of academic practice, scholarly communication or open peer-review. To whom the volume will appeal is a question of openness to the large variety of disciplines as, but not restricted to, religious studies, philosophy, cultural studies or theology.

The volume has an interview with Russell M. McCutcheon, discourses and sociology of knowledge (Reiner Keller), religious discourse (Dominique Maingueneau), an analysis of the historical discourse (Kocku von Stuckrad), the multicultural drama of CDA and DST perspectives (Frans Wijsen), discourse theories in cultural studies (Anne Koch), discursive analysis of religion and political science (Erin K. Wilson), discourse and economy question (Guy Redden), dynamics of the human rights discourse (Hans G. Kippenberg), gender (Morny Joy), beyond language (Jay Johnston).

This volume is a must reading!

The Jefferson Bible

Peter Manseau, The Jefferson Bible: A Biography. Lives of Great Religious Books; Princeton and London: Princeton University Press, 2020. 236 pp. $24.95 / £20.00. ISBN 9780691205694.

The unusual artifact entitled the Jefferson Bible deserves a detailed bio-graphy. This enterprise was undertaken by Peter Manseau and delivered to the reader through the Princeton University Press’s series of Lives of Great Religious Books.

What is the Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, known as Jefferson Bible? A cultural artifact? It is an experiment? It is a book? It is all these and more. We know that was handcrafted, a cut & paste operation. (5)

Thomas Jefferson gathered passages, reordered, repurposed those passages according to ‘his own intuition and sensibilities.’ For Manseau, Jefferson’s enterprise resemble a dadaist découpé, a cut-up, a music sampling, a music remix, and simultaneously ‘it is many books.’ (7-8)

This hypercreative item contains its time(s) and remains a witness of what ‘new’ and ‘intriguing’ would be read in the future.

Ioan Petru Culianu, 05.01.1950