Bible and Bedlam: Madness, Sanism and New Testament Interpretation
Bible and Bedlam: Madness, Sanism and New Testament Interpretation

Bible and Bedlam: Madness, Sanism and New Testament Interpretation

in Library of New Testament Studies

by Louise J. Lawrence

Pages 192
Publisher T&T Clark
Published 2018
ISBN-13 9780567657534
Just like those confined to asylums in the past due to the 'chaos' they are presumed to pose, so voices of those variously castigated as 'mad' or 'mentally ill/disabled' in historical and contemporary discourses are frequently marginalized, confined or suppressed in 'sanist' disciplines such as biblical studies. Bible and Bedlam addresses this silencing by bringing mad studies and disability studies into lively exchange with selected biblical characterizations and authors in both history and interpretation.

Accounts of the causes and treatments of perceived madness and mental illness/disability have of course diverged significantly throughout recorded history and cross-culturally. However, the social stigma and deviance projected onto characters on account of such conditions is widely attested. With this in mind, in Bible and Bedlam Louise Lawrence probes and critically questions first, the social exclusion of those characters who are labeled as 'disordered' or 'mad' in biblical texts and second, provocatively unveils the widespread ideological 'gate keeping' and 'protection' from such labels in both history and scholarship of celebrated figures including Jesus, Paul, John the Evangelist and John the Seer. Voices (both ancient and contemporary) of those who are frequently labelled autistic, psychotic or mad are among those evocatively juxtaposed here with New Testament characters, authors and texts.

  • Table of contents
  • Preface
  • Introduction: Bible and Bedlam
  • 1. Ivory Towers and the Banishment of Bedlam: Reason, Right Minds and Sane Privilege in Biblical Studies
  • 2. The Curious Incident of a Jew in the Night-Time: Autistry and An Encounter with Nicodemus
  • 3. 'Ex-Centric Women': Intersecting Marginalities and the Madness Narratives of Bessie Head, a Canaanite Woman and Pythian Slave Girl
  • 4. Gatekeeping the Madness of Jesus and Paul: Negotiating Mythologies of Madness in An Age of Neoliberalism
  • 5. Madness, the Affect Alien and the Gospel of Mark: Critically Probing a Happiness Turn in Biblical Studies
  • 6. Conclusion: Beyond Bedlam? Keeping Open[ing] Minds in Biblical Interpretation
  • Bibliography


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