Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Notice:The Construction of Others in the Acts of the Apostles

I am happy to announce that one of my colleagues here at Ashland Seminary, Dr. Mitzi Smith, has released a new book titles The construction of Others in the Acts of the Apostles: Charismatics, the Jews and Women.

Here is the book description:
Too often the negative characterization of "others" in the biblical text is applied to groups and persons beyond the text whom we wish to define as the Other. Otherness is a synthetic and political social construct that allows us to create and maintain boundaries between "them" and "us." The other that is too similar to us is most problematic. This book demonstrates how proximate characters are constructed as the Other in the Acts of the Apostles. Charismatics, Jews, and women are proximate others who are constructed as the external and internal Other.

And here is what one reviewer has already had to say:

In her book, "The Construction of the Other in the Acts of the Apostles" Mitzi J. Smith is thoroughly convinced that othering in politics and religion are mutually safeguarded in such a way that "Othering in Politics is often theologically framed, and othering among Christians is inherently political." (p.2) Othering is a political project in which identities of those who are not similar to us are created in opposition to ours. Smith is concerned about how the written texts, here the Acts of the Apostles, fall prey to such literary traps of othering. As we engage with the constructed world of the literature, it would be ideal to watch guard against the kind of real world being constructed by the authors. She critically examines Luke's othering tendencies especially in the events related to the Apostles in juxtaposition with Charismatics, the Jews, and Women.

Smith warns of othering tendencies in sacred texts that could eventually lead to contemporary social practices of othering due to difference or ignorance. It just coincides with the first anniversary of Haitian devastation which shows how othering continues in blindly demonizing and othering fellow human beings even amidst their pain and ruins. This book raises very challenging questions to the existing modes of biblical interpretation which intentionally ignore the subjective tendencies that creep into the objective claims. This book will certainly inspire readers to analyse the active agency of the "external others" (Charismatics, the Jews) and "internal others" (women) in the Acts of the Apostles and thus to accept them as agents of spreading gospel and the approved intermediaries in relation to the apostles.

Congratulations to Mitzi. I look forward to reading it soon! Maybe I can convince her to give me a copy for a book giveaway. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Yes, maybe we can arrange for a book for your give away. Thanks John