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Transforming Scriptures is the 1st sustained remedy of African American ladies writers’ highbrow, even theological, engagements with the e-book Northrop Frye known as the “great code” of Western civilization. Katherine Clay Bassard appears at poetry, novels, speeches, sermons, and prayers by means of Maria W. Stewart, Frances Harper, Hannah Crafts, Harriet E. Wilson, Harriet Jacobs, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Sherley Anne Williams and discusses how such texts reply as a collective “literary witness” to using the Bible for reasons of social domination. Black women’s old encounters with the Bible have been, certainly, transformational; within the strategy of “turning cursing into blessing” those ladies have been either formed and reshaped through the scriptures they appropriated for his or her personal self-representation.

Two vital biblical figures grow to be key tropes round which ladies formed a counternarrative to the dominant culture’s “curse” on black girl id: the “talking mule” from Numbers 22 and the “black yet comely” Shulamite of music of Songs, the Queen of Sheba. Transforming Scriptures analyzes those tropes inside of various contexts, from biblical justifications of slavery and the second-class prestige of ladies to hermeneutical and post-structural reviews of the Bible. African American women’s appropriations of scripture happen inside a continuum of African American Bible-reading practices and non secular or ideological commitments, argues Bassard. there's therefore no unmarried “black women’s hermeneutic”; relatively, theories of African American girls and the Bible needs to account for ancient and social switch and difference.

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