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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture
Earl, Douglas S.

Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2010 pp. xiv + 277. $37.95

Series Information
Journal of Theological Interpretation Supplements, 2

Description: The book of Joshua has been received and used as Christian Scripture throughout Christian history. The challenge today, however, is how Christians should appropriately continue to read Joshua as Scripture, not least in the light of well-known historical and ethical difficulties with the narrative. In Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture, Douglas Earl draws on conceptual resources offered by recent anthropological approaches to myth and combines this with a close literary reading of the text, in order to argue that Joshua is misconstrued when it is treated as a historical account of conquest. Instead, in its ancient Israelite context Joshua functioned to reshape accepted norms of community identity, as reflected in the book of Deuteronomy, by forming a new "cultural memory." Furthermore, Earl reconsiders the traditional notion of the "spiritual sense" of Scripture in terms of a rich account of symbol and also makes use of the narrative hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur. The result is a fresh and unexpected reading of Joshua as Christian Scripture that develops the original function of the narrative in a way that resonates with classic premodern readings and is also challenging to contemporary Christian understandings of identity and faithfulness.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, Joshua, Literature, Methods, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Theology

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Review by Ernst Axel Knauf
Published 2/1/2011
Citation: Ernst Axel Knauf, review of Douglas S. Earl, Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2011).

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