Book: The Bible for the Curious
Two fashionable dimensions of biblical scholarship are reception and
what is called vernacular or contextual reading. The first, accepting that
the meaning of any text depends on the reader as well as the author and
the text itself, explores how the meanings of the Bible have shifted with
different political and social circumstances. Examples of major changes
are the Protestant readings that followed the printing of the scriptures
in vernacular languages and the political upheavals that ushered in the
modern period, especially the Enlightenment. The Bible became a political
tract, bringing into being the colonization of North America and the
political complexion of the United States of America. More recently, feminism
fomented a revolution that led to all kinds of readings against patriarchy,
racism, sexual discrimination and all kinds of cultural hierarchy.
These movements might well be seen as part of a growing secularism with
regard to religious scriptures and religion itself, whereby biblical values
are judged by contemporary social ones rather than the other way round.