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Nomadic TextNomadic Text

A Theory of Biblical Reception History

Brennan W. Breed

Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise

Narrated by Lynn Benson

Book published by Indiana University Press

Brennan W. Breed claims that biblical interpretation should focus on the shifting capacities of the text, viewing it as a dynamic process rather than a static product. Rather than seeking to determine the original text and its meaning, Breed proposes that scholars approach the production, transmission, and interpretation of the biblical text as interwoven elements of its overarching reception history. Grounded in the insights of contemporary literary theory, this approach alters the framing questions of interpretation from “What does this text mean?” to “What can this text do?”

Brennan W. Breed is Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary.


“Seeking a new theoretical approach to reception history, Brennan W. Breed critiques the very mainstay of modern biblical criticism and offers a new approach to reception history—and a well-thought-out and persuasive one at that—but a new critical challenge to the well-trod methods of biblical criticism.”

—Mark Brummitt, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

“Brennan W. Breed argues that rather than attempting to anchor biblical texts in one particular context, scholars must recognize that it is in the very nature of the text to remain open to new contexts and to future interpretation. That is, one should think about a text in terms of its potential powers rather than its essence.”

—Scott C. Jones, Covenant College

“Brennan Breed's Nomadic Text is not just a theory of biblical reception history, but is also a reevaluation of text criticism and its search for the original text... [He] makes a compelling argument that all biblical interpretation is reception history.”

Journal of the Bible and Its Reception

“Breed’s theoretically rich and engaging methodology will be useful to anyone interested in how texts are interpreted and deployed in social life.”

New Books Network

Nomadic Text will undoubtedly be a crucial contribution to the future directions of biblical studies, as well as to understanding what biblical studies has, in one sense, always already been doing.”

Modern Believing

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