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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Matter of the Text: Material Engagements between Luke and the Five Senses
Elvey, Anne F.

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2011 pp. xx + 219. $110.00

Series Information
The Bible in the Modern World, 37

Description: When the Lukan Jesus stands up to read in the Nazareth synagogue, he unrolls and rolls up a scroll. At this moment–which scholars have read as programmatic for the Gospel of Luke–the material text frames the written and spoken word. Here reading is an engagement with the senses of touch, sight and hearing. The organs of sense–skin, eyes, ears and mouth–function as mediators of the material text. By contrast, our contemporary practices of reading as biblical scholars and critics commonly ignore the underlying materiality that is given to writing. In an ecological context where the mass production of Bibles is part of a consumerist economics that does not walk lightly on the Earth, and in an Australian postcolonial context where Bibles arrived as material artefacts of European colonizers, this book asks what modes of reading might best be suited to the materiality of the text. Engaging with the Gospel of Luke and the five senses, The Matter of the Text enacts a mode of reading that attends to the underlying materiality of the text. Reading with the senses offers a way of imagining the mutual touching of artefact and writing and the absent presence of the material text, where matter is given to the word as a visible voice.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Luke, Literature, Methods, Other Methods

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Review by J. Lyle Story
Published 2/8/2016
Citation: J. Lyle Story, review of Anne F. Elvey, The Matter of the Text: Material Engagements between Luke and the Five Senses, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2016).

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