Melville's Bibles

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University of California Press, 2008 M02 5 - 206 pages
Many writers in antebellum America sought to reinvent the Bible, but no one, Ilana Pardes argues, was as insistent as Melville on redefining biblical exegesis while doing so. In Moby-Dick he not only ventured to fashion a grand new inverted Bible in which biblical rebels and outcasts assume center stage, but also aspired to comment on every imaginable mode of biblical interpretation, calling for a radical reconsideration of the politics of biblical reception. In Melville's Bibles, Pardes traces Melville's response to a whole array of nineteenth-century exegetical writings—literary scriptures, biblical scholarship, Holy Land travel narratives, political sermons, and women's bibles. She shows how Melville raised with unparalleled verve the question of what counts as Bible and what counts as interpretation.

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Contents

Introduction
1
Job and the Aesthetic Turn in Biblical Exegesis
18
Improvisations on Kittos Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature
46
The Bible and the Orient
73
Biblical Politics
98
The Rise of Womens Bibles
123
Epilogue
148
Notes
157
Index
185
Copyright

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Page 143 - Thus saith the Lord ; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord ; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
Page 35 - Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
Page 37 - All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event - in the living act, the undoubted deed - there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask.
Page 62 - Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly, and said: "I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, And He heard me; Out of the belly of hell cried I, And Thou heardest my voice.
Page 74 - Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
Page 30 - In thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falleth on men, Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair of my flesh stood up...
Page 23 - Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook ? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down ? • '•-•: Canst thou put an hook into his nose ? Or bore his jaw through with a thorn...
Page 91 - Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color; and at the same time the concrete of all colors, is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows - a colorless, all-color of atheism...
Page 96 - And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

About the author (2008)

Ilana Pardes is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She is the author of Countertraditions in the Bible: A Feminist Approach and The Biography of Ancient Israel: National Narratives in the Bible (UC Press).

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