Books & Articles

Political Trauma and Healing: Biblical Ethics for a Postcolonial world Mark G. Brett
(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2016) 

How can Scripture address the crucial justice issues of our time? In this book Mark Brett offers a careful reading of biblical texts that speak to such pressing public issues as the legacies of colonialism, the demands of asylum seekers, the challenges of climate change, and the shaping of redemptive economies.

Brett argues that the Hebrew Bible can be read as a series of reflections on political trauma and healing — the long saga of successive ancient empires violently asserting their sovereignty over Israel and of the Israelites forced to live out new pathways toward restoration. Brett retrieves the prophetic voice of Scripture and applies it to our contemporary world, addressing current justice issues in a relevant, constructive, compelling manner.

Colonial Contexts and Postcolonial Theology: Storyweaving in the Asia-Pacific Editors: Brett, M., Havea, J. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Colonial Contexts and Postcolonial Theology focuses on what postcolonial theologies look like in colonial contexts, particularly in dialogue with the First Nations Peoples in Australia and the Asia-Pacific. The contributors have roots in the Asia-Pacific, but the struggles, theologies and concerns they address are shared across the seas.

Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire  EDITED BY Andrew T. Abernethy, Mark G. Brett, Tim Bulkeley, Tim Meadowcroft 
(Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013)

Interpreting Isaiah requires attention to empire. The matrix of the book of Isaiah was the imperial contexts of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. The community of faith in these eras needed a prophetic vision for life. Not only is the book of Isaiah crafted in light of empire, but current readers cannot help but approach Isaiah in light of imperial realities today. As a neglected area of research, Isaiah and Imperial Context probes how empire can illumine Isaiah through essays that utilize archaeology, history, literary approaches, post-colonialism, and feminism within the various sections of Isaiah. The contributors are Andrew T. Abernethy, Mark G. Brett, Tim Bulkeley, John Goldingay, Christopher B. Hays, Joy Hooker, Malcolm Mac MacDonald, Judith E. McKinlay, Tim Meadowcroft, Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, and David Ussishkin.

Decolonizing God: The Bible in the Tides of Empire Mark G. Brett
(Phoenix 2008, ATF Press 2009),

For centuries, the Bible has been used by colonial powers to undergird their imperial designs–an ironic situation when so much of the Bible was conceived by way of resistance to empires. In this thoughtful book, Mark Brett draws upon his experience of the colonial heritage in Australia to identify a remarkable range of areas where God needs to be decolonized–freed from the bonds of the colonial. Writing in a context where landmark legal cases have ruled that Indigenous (Aboriginal) rights have been ‘washed away by the tide of history’, Brett re-examines land rights in the biblical traditions, Deuteronomy’s genocidal imagination, and other key topics in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament where the effects of colonialism can be traced. Drawing out the implications for theology and ethics, this book provides a comprehensive new proposal for addressing the legacies of colonialism. A ground-breaking work of scholarship that makes a major intervention into post-colonial studies. This book confirms the relevance of post-colonial theory to biblical scholarship and provides an exciting and original approach to biblical interpretation. Bill Ashcroft, University of Hong Kong and University of New South Wales; author of The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (2002). Acutely sensitive to the historical as well as theological complexity of the Bible, Mark Brett’s Decolonizing God brilliantly demonstrates the value of a critical assessment of the Bible as a tool for rethinking contemporary possibilities. The contribution of this book to ethical and theological discourse in a global perspective and to a politics of hope is immense. Tamara C. Eskenazi, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles; editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (2007)

Genesis: Procreation and the Politics of Identity Mark G. Brett (Routledge 2000),

Combining insights from social and literary theory as well as traditional historical studies, Mark Brett argues that the first book of the Bible can be read as resistance literature.

Placing the theological text firmly within its socio-political context, he shows that the editors of Genesis were directly engaged with contemporary issues, especially the nature of an authentic community, and that the book was designed to undermine the ethnocentism of the imperial governors of the Persian period (fifth century BCE)

 Ethnicity and the Bible  edited by Mark G. Brett (E J Brill 1996).

Contemporary social theory has been much concerned with the re-assertion of ethnic identities in both Western and non-Western politics. This international collection of twenty-one essays contributes to the wider conversation by examining the construction and contestation of ethnic identities both within the Bible itself and in biblical interpretation. An introductory essay brings into focus the main themes of the book – ethnocentrism, indigenity, concepts of culture and the politics of identity – and highlights the ethical issues arising. Part One explores selected texts from the Hebrew Bible and from the New Testament, making use of methodological perspectives drawn from a range of disciplines. Part Two, Culture and Interpretation, looks at examples of how ethnicity figures both in the popular use of the Bible and in professional biblical interpretation.

Biblical Criticism in Crisis?: The Impact of the Canonical Approach on Old Testament
Studies
 Mark G. Brett (Cambridge 1991)

The author of this book suggests that Old Testament scholars should strengthen their growing links with neighboring disciplines and encourage a plurality of interpretative interests within Biblical studies. Given such a pluralistic context, Dr. Brett’s contention is that the new “canonical” approach to Old Testament study will have a distinctive contribution to make to the discipline without necessarily displacing, as many scholars have assumed, other traditions of historical, social scientific, and literary inquiry. The book offers a comprehensive critique of the canonical approach as developed by Brevard Childs, and places this in the setting of recent discussions in literary theory and “postmodern” theology

 

Articles

‘Yhwh among the Nations: The Politics of Divine Names in Genesis 15 and 24’, in J. Wöhrle and M.G. Brett (eds), The Politics of the Ancestors: Exegetical and Historical Perspectives on Genesis 12–36 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, forthcoming).

‘The Imperial Context of the Pentateuch’, in C. Nihan and J. Baden (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Pentateuch, forthcoming.

‘Postcolonial Readings of Isaiah’, in L.-S. Tiemeyer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Isaiah, forthcoming.

‘Religious Dimensions of Postcolonial Policy in Australia’, in C. Baker, B.R. Crisp and A. Dinham (eds), Re-imagining Religion and Belief for 21st Century Policy and Practice, forthcoming.

A Suitably English Abraham: Emigration to Australia in the Nineteenth Australia’, in J. Havea (ed.), Postcolonial Voices from Downunder: Indigenous Matters, Confronting Readings, ed. Jione Havea (Eugene: Pickwick, 2017), 110-121.

Graham Paulson and Mark Brett, ‘Five Smooth Stones: Reading the Bible through
Aboriginal Eyes’, in R.S. Sugirtharajah (ed.), Voices from the Margin: 25th Anniversary Edition (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2016), 61-76. [Reprinted from Colloquium 45 (2013): 199-214.]

‘Narrative Deliberation in Biblical Politics’, in Danna Nolen Fewell (ed), The Oxford Handbook to Biblical Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 540-549.

Bible exhorts us to serve creation, not oppress it – Mark Brett & Anne Elvey, in TMA (The Melbourne Anglican)

‘Law and Sovereignty in Australian National Narratives’, in M.G. Brett and J. Havea (eds), Colonial Contexts and Postcolonial Theology: Storyweaving in the Asia-Pacific (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 161-177.

‘The Priestly Dissemination of Abraham’, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 3 (2014): 87-107. ‘Colonialism’, in Robert L. Brawley (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics, Vol. I, Oxford University Press, 2014), 95-99.

‘Natives and Immigrants in the Social Imagination of the Holiness School’, in E. Ben Zvi and D. Edelman (eds), Imagining the Other and Constructing Israelite Identity in the early Second Temple Period (New York: T&T Clark, 2014), 89-104.

‘Imperial Imagination in Isaiah 56-66’, in A. Abernethy, M.G. Brett, T. Meadowcroft and T. Bulkeley (eds), Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in Times of Empire (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2013), 170-85.

‘Responses: Negotiating the Tides of Empire’, in A. Abernethy, M.G. Brett, T. Meadowcroft and T. Bulkley (eds), Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire (Eugene: Pickwick, 2013), 201-207.

‘Reading as a Canaanite: Paradoxes in Joshua’, in J.K. Aitken, J.M.S. Clines and
C.M. Maier (eds), Interested readers: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honor of David J.A. Clines (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013), 231-46.

‘“Speak to the Earth, and She will instruct You” (Job 12.8): An Intersection of Ecological and Indigenous Hermeneutics’, in A. Cadwallader (ed.), Where the Wild Ox Roams: Biblical Essays in Honour of Norman C. Habel (Sheffield: Phoenix, 2013), 1-19.

‘Permutations of Sovereignty in the Priestly Tradition’, Vetus Testamentum 63 (2013): 382-92.

‘Dawkins and Badiou: Two Atheist Approaches to the Bible’, Theology 116 (2013): 163-68.

‘Forced Migrations, Asylum Seekers and Human Rights’, Colloquium 45/2 (2013): 121-136.

Graham Paulson and Mark Brett, ‘Five Smooth Stones: Reading the Bible through Aboriginal Eyes’, Colloquium 45 (2013): 199-214.

Asylum seekers and universal human rights: Does the Bible still matter? on ABC Religion and Ethics 17th June 2013

‘Diaspora and Kenosis as Postcolonial Themes’, in D. Joy and J. Duggan (eds), Decolonizing the Body of Christ: An Interdisciplinary Conversation (London: Palgrave, 2012), 127-140.

‘Unequal Terms: A Postcolonial Approach to Isaiah 61’, in K. Dell and P. Joyce (eds), Biblical Interpretation and Method: Essays in Honour of Professor John Barton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 243-56.

‘The Politics of Marriage in Genesis’ in D.J.A. Clines, K. Richards and J.N. Wright (eds), Making a Difference: Essays on the Bible and Judaism in Honor of Tamara Cohn Eskenazi (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012), 9-59.

‘Feeling for Country: Reading the Old Testament in the Australian Context’, Pacifica (2010): 137-156.

‘Theological Secularity: A Response to Roland Boer’, in R. Boer (ed.), Secularism and Biblical Studies (London: Equinox Press, 2010), 58-65.

‘National Identity as Commentary and as Metacommentary’, in L. Jonker (ed.), Historiography and Identity (Re)formulation in Second Temple Historiographical Literature (London: Continuum, 2010), 29-40.

‘Treaty and Sovereignty in Religious Imagination’, in M. Paranjape (ed.), Sacred Australia: Post-Secular Considerations (Melbourne: Clouds of Magellan, 2009), 96-118.

‘The Loss and Retrieval of Ancestral Religion – in Ancient Israel and in Australia’, in M. Parsons (ed.), Text and Task: Scripture and Mission (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2005),
1-19.

‘Abraham’s “Heretical” Imperative: A Response to Jacques Derrida’, in C. Cosgrove (ed.), The Meanings We Choose: Hermeneutical Ethics, Indeterminacy and the Conflict of Interpretations (London: T&T Clark International, 2004), 167-78.

‘The Future of Old Testament Theology’, in B. Ollenburger (ed), Old Testament Theology: Flowering and Future (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2004), 481-494.

‘Genocide in Deuteronomy: Postcolonial Variations on Mimetic Desire’, Festschrift for A.F.Campbell, edited by M. O’Brien and H. Wallace, Seeing Signals, Reading Signs (London: Continuum, 2004), 76-90.

‘Biblical Concepts of Peace: Pathways to Reconciliation’, Rays: MIT Journal of Theology [Burma] 4 (2003): 18-40.

‘Canto Ergo Sum: Indigenous Peoples and Postcolonial Theology’, Pacifica 16 (2003): 247-56.

‘Israel’s Indigenous Origins: Cultural Hybridity and the Formation of Israelite Ethnicity’, Biblical Interpretation 11 (2003): 400-412.

‘Self-Criticism, Cretan Liars, and the Sly Redactors of Genesis’ in I.R. Kitzberger (ed.), Autobiographical Biblical Criticism: Between Text and Self (Leiden: Deo, 2002), 116-32.

‘Commentary’, in M. Mallouhi et al. (eds), The Beginnings of the World and Humanity: A Contemporary Study in Genesis [in Arabic] (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al Jil, 2001), 149-367.

‘Canonical Criticism and Old Testament Theology’, in A.D.H. Mayes (ed.), Text in Context: Essays by Members of the Society for Old Testament Study (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 63-85.

‘The Future of Old Testament Theology’, keynote address International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, Oslo 1998, in A. Lemaire and M. Saebo (eds), IOSOT Congress Volume: Oslo (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2000), 465-88.

‘Reading the Bible in the Context of Methodological Pluralism’, in M.D. Carroll (ed.), Rethinking Contexts, Rereading Texts (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 48-74.

‘Earthing the Human in Genesis 1-3’, in N. Habel and S. Wurst (eds), The Earth Story in Genesis (Earth Bible 2; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 73-86.

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