Bible and Bedlam: Madness, Sanism, and New Testament Interpretation
Lawrence, Louise J.
London: Bloomsbury, 2018 pp. vii + 188. $114.00
Library of New Testament Studies, 594
Description: Bible and Bedlam first critically questions the exclusion and stereotyping of certain biblical characters and scholars perceived as 'mad', as such judgements illustrate the 'sanism' (prejudice against individuals who are diagnosed or perceived as mentally ill) perpetuated within the discipline of Western biblical studies. Second, it seeks to highlight the widespread ideological 'gatekeeping' - 'protection' and 'policing' of madness in both western history and scholarship - with regard to celebrated biblical figures, including Jesus and Paul. Third, it initiates creative exchanges between biblical texts, interpretations and contemporary voices from 'mad' studies and sources (autobiographies, memoirs etc.), which are designed to critically disturb, disrupt and displace commonly projected (and often pejorative) assumptions surrounding 'madness'. Voices of those subject to diagnostic labelling such as autism, schizophrenia and/or psychosis are among those juxtaposed here with selected biblical interpretations and texts.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Literature, Methods, Ideological Critique, Feminist Approaches, Postcolonial Approaches
Review by Robert J. Myles
Citation: Robert J. Myles, review of Louise J. Lawrence, Bible and Bedlam: Madness, Sanism, and New Testament Interpretation, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).
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