Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible

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Overview

This book examines the theology and ethics of land use, especially the practices of modern industrialized agriculture, in light of critical biblical exegesis. Nine interrelated essays explore the biblical writers' pervasive concern for the care of arable land against the background of the geography, social structures, and religious thought of ancient Israel. This approach consistently brings out neglected aspects of texts, both poetry and prose, that are central to Jewish and Christian traditions. Rather than seeking solutions from the past, Davis creates a conversation between ancient texts and contemporary agrarian writers; thus she provides a fresh perspective from which to view the destructive practices and assumptions that now dominate the global food economy. The biblical exegesis is wide-ranging and sophisticated; the language is literate and accessible to a broad audience.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The biblical writers were familiar with disputes over land use and land care, and the economics of food production were critical to their perspective. Reading the Bible from this perspective opens up dialogue with contemporary agrarians like Wendell Berry, who wrote the foreword for this book. However far from the land we may live, issues of stewardship, care and justice remain crucial. Davis argues that the Bible provides 'vision and principle' for land use in our time." —Christian Century

"Davis writes eloquently about biblical texts on agriculture, looking for insight into 'the material sources of life.' To disregard the environment, food production and treatment of animals in scripture is to miss reflection on essential aspects of life in the presence of God." —Christian Century (Take & Read)

"This is a lucid, wide-ranging, and thought provoking book that should be read by everyone in biblical studies, and should be assigned as a textbook in courses on biblical methods, Torah, prophets, and ecological hermeneutics." —The Biblical & Critical Theory

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521732239
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/13/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 268,798
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen F. Davis is Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. She has previously taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and Virginia Theological Seminary. She is the author of eight books, most recently Wondrous Depth: Old Testament Preaching (2005) and Getting Involved with God (2001). A lay Episcopalian, Davis is a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Building Bridges Seminar.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Rupture and re-membering; 2. Reading the Bible through agrarian eyes; 3. Seeing with God: Israel's poem of creation; 4. Leaving Egypt behind: embracing the wilderness economy; 5. A wholesome materiality: reading Leviticus; 6. Covenantal economics: the biblical case for a local economy; 7. Running on poetry: the agrarian prophets; 8. Wisdom or sloth? The character of work; 9. The faithful city.

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