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The Phantom Messiah: Postmodern Fantasy And the Gospel of Mark [Hardcover]

By George Aichele (Author)
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Item description for The Phantom Messiah: Postmodern Fantasy And the Gospel of Mark by George Aichele...

W]hen they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost ("phantasma"), and cried out; for they all saw him, and were terrified (Mark 6:49, RSV) Thereis a growing awareness among biblical scholars and others of thepotential value of modern and postmodern fantasy theory for the studyof biblical texts. Followingtheorists such as Roland Barthes, Tzvetan Todorov, and Gilles Deleuze(among others), we understand the fantastic as the deconstruction ofliterary realism. The fantastic arises from the text's resistance tounderstanding; the "meaning" of the fantastic text is not its referenceto the primary world of consensus reality but rather a fundamentalundecidability of reference. The fantastic is also a point at whichancient and contemporary texts (including books, movies, and TV shows)resonate with one another, sometimes in surprising ways, and thisresonance plays a large part in my argument. Mark and its afterlives"translate" one another, in the sense that Walter Benjamin speaks ofthe tangential point at which the original text and its translationtouch one another, not a transfer of understood meaning but rather apoint at which what Benjamin called "pure language" becomes apparent.Mark has alwaysbeen the most "difficult" of the canonical gospels, the one thatrequires the greatest amount of hermeneutical gymnastics from itscommentators. Its beginning "in media res," its disconcertingending at 16:8, its multiple endings, the "messianic secret," Jesus'stensions with his disciples and family -- these are just some of themore obvious of the and many troublesome features that distinguish Markfrom the other biblical gospels. If there had not been two othergospels (Matthew and Luke) that were clearly similar to Mark but alsomuch more attractive to Christian belief, it seems likely that Mark, like the gospels of Thomas and Peter, would not have been accepted intothe canon. Reading Mark as fantasy does not "solve" any of theseproblems, but it does place them in a very different context, one inwhich they are no longer "problems," but in which there are differentproblems. A fantastical reading of the gospel ofMark is not the only correct understanding of this text, but rather onepossibility that may have considerable appeal and value in thecontemporary world. This fantasticreading is a "reading from the outside," inspired by the parable"theory" of Isaiah 6:9-10 and Mark 4:11-12: "for those outsideeverything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but notperceive, and may indeed hear but not understand." Readingfrom the outside counters a widespread belief that only those withinthe faith community can properly understand the scriptures. It is the"stupid" reading of those who do not share institutionalizedunderstandings passed down through catechisms and creeds, i.e., throughthe dominant ideology of the churches.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: T. & T. Clark Publishers
Pages   257
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 30, 2007
Publisher   T. & T. Clark Publishers
ISBN  0567025810  
ISBN13  9780567025814  

Availability  122 units.
Availability accurate as of May 24, 2017 11:53.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About George Aichele

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! George Aichele is a member of the Bible and Culture Collective, the collaborative author of The Postmodern Bible. He is also the author of Sign Text Scripture and The Control of Biblical Meaning and co-editor with Walsh of Screening Scripture. Richard Walsh is Professor of Religion at Methodist College in Fayettevile, North Carolina, and is the author of Reading the Gospels in the Dark and co-editor with Aichele of Screening Scripture.

George Aichele currently resides in the state of Michigan.

George Aichele has published or released items in the following series...
  1. JSOT Supplement (Hardcover)

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

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