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Injury and blessing: a challenge to current readings of biblical discourse concerning impairment

Horne, Simon Timothy (1999)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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In the ancient world, impairment was common knowledge: archaeological and written material demonstrate that people with impairments were included in society. Impairment was well understood and, in the rhetorical dynamic between author and reader, it was imaginatively used. The Early Church, for instance, developed established impairment themes in order to articulate, explain, and demonstrate central conceptions and experiences of divine activity and human discipleship.

Peculiar to the modern era has been the disappearance of people living impairment from mainstream experience. As a result of this culturally-shaped process, modern presuppositions about impairment have emerged that are experienced by people living impairment as profoundly negative and disabling. Modern biblical interpretation both reflects and reinforces these presuppositions, overlooking the wide range of uses of impairment in ancient texts, and causing alienation and damage to people living impairment.

To read texts of the Bible informed by an investigation of the perspectives on impairment in the ancient world presents a challenge in two respects. It identifies the inadequacies and impoverishment of uncritical modern interpretation of the biblical impairment texts. It also stimulates new and fresh liberatory readings, which reclaim as the proper focus for the interpretation of these texts the experience of lived impairment.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Young, Frances
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
Department:Department of Theology
Subjects:BS The Bible
HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:567
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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