The voice of the outcast: Josephine Butler's Biblical interpretation and public theology

Russell-Jones, Amanda Barbara (2015). The voice of the outcast: Josephine Butler's Biblical interpretation and public theology. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis argues that Josephine Butler cannot be understood as a campaigner and biblical interpreter apart from her core self-understanding as 'the voice of the outcast'. Part One, 'The Making of a Prophet', demonstrates that Butler’s chosen term 'outcast' has a biblical background and explores the key influence of anti-slavery on her interpretation of Scripture. Her husband George’s biblical interpretation is shown to be an important but previously overlooked parallel to her own. The close relationship and theological affinity she had with the women of the Salvation Army is seen to result in important developments in their mutual thought and praxis. Part Two, 'The Voice of a Prophet', analyses her innovative gendered exegesis and its application to the critical issue of the day — the sexual double standard. Parallels between the interpretative techniques she employed and those of later women bible interpreters like Phyllis Trible are explored. Parallels with Womanist and Mujerista readings on behalf of the oppressed are delineated. Butler is seen to be a radical prophetic voice in the public sphere who deliberately and subversively interpreted Scripture into the culture of her day to demand inclusion of the outcast and challenge the standards of church and state.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain


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