Prophets Performing as Public Theologians

by Jeanette Mathews

Paper presented at 2010 Global Network for Public Theology Triennial Consultation, 1-5 September 2010

In 2008, Tracy Davis, professor of performance studies at Northwestern University, wrote of the “performative turn” (2008:1) as a movement that has become increasingly influential across a wide range of academic disciplines. While for many the term “performance studies” remains grounded in the aesthetic arts, there is also a broader view of performance as a heuristic device to account for the social and cultural interactions that are being analysed, in linguistics, anthropology and sociology, for example. Theology and Biblical studies are two academic fields that have begun recently to use performance as a methodological tool in researching the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures.

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