Thursday, October 18, 2007

New book from Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

This in this morning from Fortress:
Reading Scripture Responsibly in an Imperial Age

Minneapolis (October 18, 2007)—What kind of power does the scripture exercise? In The Power of the Word: Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, the premier scholar of feminist biblical interpretation and early Christian history, explores the difficult hermeneutical question.

Because Christian scriptures were formulated in the context of Roman imperial power, they have functioned—and still do so—in the service of empire, legitimating colonialist expansion, racist exploitation, and heterosexist discrimination.

Schüssler Fiorenza calls for a critical feminist decolonizing reading, capable of identifying both the destructive powers of empire and the radical democratic visions of justice and well-being that are inscribed in the scriptural text.

The author tackles the tough questions of the Bible’s role in the world today and how its vision can further a more just world. She shows particularly the radical power of the Word to challenge imperial ways, the humiliation of persons, and the use of religion itself to keep people down, today as then. Finally she offers an understanding of the implications of such a program for the field and practice of biblical studies, as indispensable partner in challenging the status quo.

The Power of the Word makes a timely contribution not only to traditional fields such as Pauline and Apocalypse studies, but also to the developing intersection of feminist and postcolonial biblical studies and the study of empire.

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza is Krister Stendahl Professor at Harvard University Divinity School and Founding Co-Editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Among her many and influential works are In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins (1984); Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation (1985); But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation (1993); Jesus: Miriam’s Feminist Christology (1995); and as editor, Searching the Scriptures: A Feminist Introduction, 2 vols., (1993, 1994). Her books from Fortress Press include The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgment, 2nd ed. (1998) and Rhetoric and Ethic: The Politics of Biblical Studies (1999).

The Power of the Word: Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire

By Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

Item No: 978-0-8006-3834-4, paperback
Spec: 176 pages, 6 x 9 inches
Price: $19.00

Item No: 978-0-8006-3833-7, hardcover with jacket
Spec: 176 pages, 6 x 9 inches

Price: $29.00

To order The Power of the Word: Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire, please call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the Web site at

To request review copies (for media), or to discuss speaking engagements or interviews, please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or e-mail

To request exam copies for classroom use (professors) go to

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