The Book of Hiding offers a fluent and erudite analysis of the parallels between the Bible and contemporary discussions of gender, ethnicity and social ambiguity. Beal focuses particularly on the traditionally marginalised book of Esther, in order to examine closely the categories of self and other in relation to religion, sexism, nationalism, and the ever-looming legacies and future possibilities of annihilation. Beal applies the critical tools of contemporary theorists, such as Cixous, Irigaray and Levinas, challenging widely held assumptions about the moral and life-affirming message of Scripture and even about the presence of God in the book of Esther. The Book of Hiding draws together a variety of different perspectives and disciplines, creating a unique space for dialogue raising new questions and reconsidering old assumptions, which is profoundly interesting and well-articulated.
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Timothy K. Beal is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Women's and Gender Studies at Eckerd College, Florida. He is the Chair of the Reading, Theory and the Bible section of the Society of Biblical Literature. He is co-editor, with David Gunn, of Reading Bibles, Writing Bodies: Identity and the Book (Routledge 1996).Review:
"Timothy Beal's sensitive interpretation of the enchanting yet disturbing 'Book of Esther' is a gift to students and teachers of Scripture. Though the mystery of the 'hiding' remains intact, the character's emerge in a new light, weaving a story that responds to our need for enchantment."
"A must for all interested in the scroll of Esther, literary study of biblical narrative, and the many ways biblical studies and critical theory might engage each other."
-"Religious Studies Review
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