By Eryl W. Davies
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Additional resources for Biblical Criticism: A Guide for the Perplexed
The act of reading seems so intangible and elusive that biblical scholars who attempt to analyse it are in danger of being drawn into the realm of psychology, which is outside the province of their expertise. indd 26 11/9/2012 4:50:00 AM READER-RESPONSE CRITICISM 27 approach was the promiscuous instability of textual meaning to which it might give rise and the vagaries of interpretation which it might generate. In this regard, the concerns expressed by biblical scholars were similar to those voiced by many of the New Critics when reader-response criticism threatened to encroach upon their domain.
Advocates of such a change were careful not to deny the enduring significance of the historical-critical method, for it had undoubtedly proved productive in the past and had yielded valuable results. But it was felt that such an approach did not always do full justice to the biblical texts themselves. When historical questions were put to the texts, they would return the appropriate historical answers; but historical questions did not constitute the only legitimate means of access to the Bible, for the text could just as well be considered as a literary document.
The aim of this ambitious project was to highlight the male bias of Scripture and to excise from the Bible those passages that were blatantly misogynistic. indd 38 11/9/2012 4:49:37 AM FEMINIST BIBLICAL CRITICISM 39 her strategy of eliminating from the Bible texts that might offend female sensibilities in the following terms: ‘We need an expurgated edition of the Old and the New Testaments before they are fit to be placed in the hands of our youth to be read in the public schools and in theological seminaries, especially if we wish to inspire our children with proper love and respect for the Mothers of the Race’ (1898: 184).