In Memoriam: Whitney Shiner
We remember Dr. Whitney Shiner with gratitude for his work and passion as a pioneer of what we now call Biblical Performance Criticism. His book Performing the Gospel: First-Century Performance of Mark and his performances of Mark's Gospel inspired many others to perform and explore ancient performances.
His obituary appropriately quotes the last paragraph of his book:
“…The performance of the Gospel makes Jesus powerfully present. It allows me to participate in his life and his death. The Gospel event embodying the life and death of Jesus is transformative, transformative because it lifts me out of ordinary existence. It creates a new reality. Something in me dies. Something in me is born. It is no longer I who live. The Pauline language describes the intended effect of the Gospel event. I participated in the faithfulness of Christ. It continues to live in me.”
A radiophonic production of The Book of Jonah, narrated by Professor N. T. Wright, starring Professor Alastair McIntosh as Jonah, Sound and song by David Benjamin Blower.
Listen to the whole production at: https://benjaminblower.bandcamp.com
David Benjamin Blower is my new favorite Bible translator. He's been one of my favorite songwriters for a while, but his newest project rises to the level of biblical performance criticism. "The Book of Jonah" is an album that makes Jonah a musical. ...The music that David had created really sets the emotional scenes. Even before the narration begins, the music expresses ancient Israelite fears of ancient Assyria, explaining in detail why no Israelite would want to go there. On the ship, the music translates the sailors' desperation to please a god they think is angry. At the conclusion, the music offers an explanation for Jonah's anger in a way that doesn't dismiss it as immaturity or selfishness (as Jonah's anger is often taught).
Call for Papers
A New Biblical Performance Criticism Journal
The opportunity has come to launch a Biblical Performance Criticism Journal! We are gathering articles for consideration now. The first two issues will be as guest issues in the Oral History Journal of South Africa (https://upjournals.co.za/index.php/OHJSA). If these two issues are well received, there is the opportunity for a stand-alone BPC Journal published by UNISA. Dr. Pieter Botha of UNISA is editing the first two issues. David Rhoads, Kelly Iverson, James Maxey, and Peter Perry are serving as the editorial board.
Contextualizing Israel’s Sacred Writings: Ancient Literacy, Orality, and Literary Production
Brian B. Schmidt, editor
Reviewed in RBL 03/2017.
From the review by Gareth J. Wearne:
"The significance of this volume is twofold : it represents a timely reflection on the state of the field by some of its leading participants; and it contains several important — and at times challenging — steps forward in the ongoing dialogue at the interface between literacy and orality in ancient Israel and Judah. As such, it will no doubt serve as a major reference and point of departure for future studies. To take just one example, a theme that is reflected in a number of the essays is the political Sitz im Leben of writing: writing was primarily a function of, and sponsored by, the state, not temples. This raises profound questions for the textualization of supposedly cultic and liturgical materials in the Hebrew Bible, such as the Psalms and the Priestly materials."
Performance Criticism of Matt 17:14-20
A Work in Progress
by Sheila Rosenthal
Since January 2017, I have been leading and working with a small group of parishioners in Gloucestershire, England, on the exegesis of Gospel texts. By using a methodology which I am developing through this work with them and based on BPC principles , this is a report of one workshop which had particularly fruitful results.