Culture, Religion

Subversive Sequels in the Bible

There is no more persuasive a proponent of the coherence and relevance of the Bible than Judy Klitsner in her new (new-ish, I’m a little late on the review here) book, Subversive Sequels in the Bible.
The premise of the book is that when the Bible appears to repeat a story or contradict one narrative with another, it is making a point or offering a new, equally valid read of the same issue or situation.
Subversive Sequels is a remarkably lucid, clear, easy read. Despite being relatively short, it is packed with creative, original, mind-blowing reads of of stories both familiar and obscure. The book will be accessible to any reader, regardless of prior knowledge. For those familiar with the Bible, it will be a refreshing way to revisit familiar territory. For those new to Bible study, it will provide the most engrossing intro possible.
In each of the first five chapters, Klitsner explores a biblical story and in the second half of the chapter explores a second story, which serves as a subversive sequel to the first.
In my favorite example, Klitsner explores the Tower of Babel. Her conclusion, the same reached by many classical commentators, whom she consults quite a bit, is that the sin in Babel was the oppression of the nameless citizens of Babel. Closely examining narrative styles, specific words and phrases, Klitsner demonstrates pretty convincingly that the story of Israelite slavery in Egypt is a subversive sequel to Babel. In Babel, God acts to end the oppression. Through the example of the remarkably named  midwives (compare with the completely unnamed citizen-slaves of Babel), the sequel encourages us to take matters into our own hands and act to end our own oppression.
The book is pretty much the greatest thing ever. So go read it. It’s gonna make you say “Wow!” more times a day than you’d expect.

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