James W. Watts: 0000-0002-4872-4986
Bible, biblical studies, Hebrew Bible, Leviticus, commentary, ritual, rhetoric
Biblical Studies | Religion
This study combines rhetoric, ritual studies, and comparative scriptures studies to open new avenues for understanding both biblical texts and their cultural history as a scripture. Labelling commentary as ritual, specifically as a ritualized genre of text, leads to the observation that commentary not only contributes to the Bible’s status as a scripture, it depends on that status as well. Ritual theories provide explanations for the dynamic interaction of tradition and innovation in commentary writing. Analysis of commentary writing and reading as a form of ritualizing the semantic dimension of a scripture provides a step forward in understanding how religious and academic communities use scriptures both to conserve a tradition and to adapt it to new circumstances.
James W. Watts, “Writing Commentary as Ritual and as Discovery,” in The Genre of Biblical Commentary: Essays in Honor of John E. Hartley (ed. William Yarchin and Timothy Finlay; Wipf & Stock, 2015), 40-53.
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