Read Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible by Ellen F. Davis Online


This book examines the theology and ethics of land use, especially the practices of modern industrialized agriculture, in light of critical biblical exegesis. Nine interrelated essays explore the biblical writers' pervasive concern for the care of arable land against the background of the geography, social structures, and religious thought of ancient Israel. This approachThis book examines the theology and ethics of land use, especially the practices of modern industrialized agriculture, in light of critical biblical exegesis. Nine interrelated essays explore the biblical writers' pervasive concern for the care of arable land against the background of the geography, social structures, and religious thought of ancient Israel. This approach consistently brings out neglected aspects of texts, both poetry and prose, that are central to Jewish and Christian traditions. Rather than seeking solutions from the past, Davis creates a conversation between ancient texts and contemporary agrarian writers; thus she provides a fresh perspective from which to view the destructive practices and assumptions that now dominate the global food economy. The biblical exegesis is wide-ranging and sophisticated; the language is literate and accessible to a broad audience....

Title : Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
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ISBN : 9780521732239
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 234 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible Reviews

  • Joe.bell
    2019-02-17 11:14

    Ellen Davis has made a careful and through presentation about the relationship between the writing in the Old Testament and an generally agrarian understanding of people's relationship with the land. It is striking how far away from this we have wandered. It is complicated for me because I also understand how much of the writing in the Old Testament is imaginary in the first place, so to find a strong theme of agrarian thought in a book of mostly made up stories is a little surprising. The author makes her case by careful selection of passages and explication of the uses of certain Hebrew words and ideas. Again, it could be just more made up meaning on top of made up stories, but it is moving. She points out a few things that I have never heard preached in 40 years of going to church. One is a reason why we never hear sermons from the Song of Songs or Proverbs. It turns out that most of the things in those two books are in the woman's voice, and pastors are loathe to give voice to it. I think anyone who has done any serious bible study outside of the fundamentalist cant would enjoy reading this thoughtful and careful book. She also points out lots of other sources for agrarian thought and writers of agrarian mindsets, which is a valuable resource for those of us who are looking for a way forward from the end game we find ourselves in now, at least in America.

  • Joseph Monroe
    2019-01-25 18:57

    Dr. Ellen Davis studiously and eloquently works to bring the leaders of all modern fields of expertise: from artists, people of religion, science, politicians, and economists into the conversation about food security and the importance of healthy land. Her hope is that a gathering of minds will occur that recognize "how completely the health of human lives and cultures is bound up with care of the land and just distribution of it's bounty." She paints the bible as a book about people dependent not only on their god but also dependent on agriculture. She intersects this view with modern agrarian writers, mostly Wendell Berry. From her exposé on ancient and biblical economies and political contexts and their relevance to modern agriculture, she hopes that the bible will enrich the necessity of a modern conversation about food.

  • Kyle
    2019-02-14 19:00

    One might argue this book is simply an example of a modern reader-response hermeneutic. Rather than read the Bible through a paradigm of power, liberation, patriarchy, feminism, etc., Davis reads the Bible (or to be more precise, the Old Testament) through an agrarian lens. Thus, ones appreciation for her book is really dependent on 1) appreciation of that method of interpretation and 2) her lens of choice.But to leave it there would do Davis a great disservice. Unlike other similar methodologies, agrarianism is a topic native to the text. Davis takes great efforts in restraining from imposing a foreign element into the text. Instead Davis serves as an expert guide overturning rocks that have long laid dormant to the urban eyes.For example, in an agrarian reading of the Exodus, Davis compares the Israelites experience of slaves in Egypt with theirs of pilgrims in the desert. In Egypt they served as food industrialists. They built storehouses to keep and store the excess of food they were forced to produce. In the desert they were fed daily manna from heaven. The Exodus text went to great lengths to remind that not only were they forbidden to save and store the manna, they could not do so even if they tried. For Davis, the Israelites were re-learning what it meant to be people of the earth. Food, a most basic element of human life, is not a commodity to master, trade, and sell. Instead it was a gift from God that illustrated both their dependence on God for life and provision but illustrated their existence as people of the earth.Throughout it all Davis ties together historical exegesis with an eye toward modern ecological issues such as hunger, exploitation of the land, the death of the small farmer, pesticides, and the growing lack of variation amongst similar crops. Whether or not you agree with Davis' conclusions will depend upon the reader. Yet all should agree she offers much to the discussion.

  • Patrick Walsh
    2019-02-17 14:49

    Ellen Davis was interviewed by Krista Tippett in November 2011. Whenthat interview was rebroadcast approximately two years ago, I made a note to add Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible to my "to-read" list.The marketing copy on the back cover presents the book as a tract against "modern industrialized agriculture." Except for Chapter 6, I did not read many arguments in this area in the book. That is not a criticism of the book by any means. Ellen Davis's thoughtful exegesis of the Old Testament scriptures she cites is engaging and enjoyable.Published by a university press, the book is somewhat technical and not written on a popular level. So it is not necessarily a book that one should read in bed when energy levels are low, but that's when I read it. So at some point, and soon, I should go back and reread it.

  • Chelsea
    2019-02-04 12:02

    Surprisingly easy to read for series of agrarian exegetical essays.None of the information was stunning or new, but it was a little interesting at points. Agrarian literature isn't really something I plan to study in depth any time in the future, but for those who do or currently are, this is a good book to have on hand.I wish the last essay had more vibes throughout the entire book, as Davis focused on applying her findings to a modern world where cities are sprawling and farms are forced into high production instead of high quality. The majority of our discussion in class while reading Davis gravitated toward application, and it was enjoyable to hear about it from the person who had done all of the work.3.5/5--not my cup of tea, but very informational and well-written and organized.

  • Kristi
    2019-01-21 19:15

    This book is fairly fantastic. The author writes a series of essays delving into the Old Testament and its connections to the agrarian writers of today (mainly, Wendell Berry). Contrary to how some people choose to interpret the injunction in Genesis to rule and subdue Creation, this divine command is not license to misuse the Creation or even to use resources in order to hasten the Lord's return. Rather, the Bible is very much a great foundation for an agrarian mindset. Fascinating, challenging, and illuminating to read, albeit academic in nature and thus at times stylistically a little slow. Dense but worthwhile.

  • David
    2019-02-02 14:00

    "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24.1As an aspiring agrarian and an armchair theologian, this was a great read for me!pg. 3 - Augustine's interpretive principal - leads to love of God and love of 27 - What impedes proper exegesis?pg. 84 - Leviticus and the healing of the 92 - Sex crimes and a depraved 105 - The food industry and chronic extreme hunger, the paradox of 142 - The concept of 143 - The demeaning work of Egypt and envisioning the world 143 - Sabbath and economy and resources.

  • Patrick Mulcahy
    2019-02-18 16:54

    Davis has written with eloquence and passion about the intersection of faith and agriculture. Her insights into the agrarian reading of the Scriptures are quite profound. They provide a decisive critique of any Christian spirituality divorced from caring for and using wisely God's good creation. I read this at the same time I was reading Brueggemann's Prophetic Imagination; his words about the prophets critiquing empire and providing hope for an alternative society go hand in hand with Davis' work.

  • Rhea
    2019-01-31 15:13

    Davis presents some inspiring and well-argued ideas on how Judeo-Christian texts engage agriculture in this series of essays. Her overall message is that sustainability isn't a new fad -- it's as old as the Torah. Highlights: Lots of Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson references and quotes, texts that you might not be familiar with and could come in handy if you write about religion and sustainability (like I do!). Drawback: The essays are very academic and seem better suited for a Religious Studies program than a personal bookshelf.

  • Brenda Funk
    2019-01-31 12:52

    Loved this book, like the ideas and the emphasis she puts on the covenant between the people, the land and God, and how they are inter-related. I loved the agrarian reading of the scriptures, and I see all the problems that are current with the way we treat the land....agri-business, the food industry etc. Just wish I had also been given a few more answers, how can we even in small ways, as individuals, change the way things are done? This is always my frustration when reading authors like Ellen Davis, Wendell Berry or Michael Pollan.

  • Milk Badger
    2019-02-02 11:09

    Skimmed it. I had greatly enjoyed listening to the author's interview with Krista Tippett, but I guess I had been expecting more Biblical exegesis and original thought here, and not the preponderance of engagements with contemporary writers that I found.

  • Emily
    2019-02-08 12:59

    a book to own, the approach to reading the creation myth with a view for contemplative action has created engaging dialogue with all those I have spoken about it to - this book puts concrete words to ideas bouncing around a good read for emergent church enthusiasts, Wendell Berryites, food justice practitioners, and the agrarian in all of us

  • Darceylaine
    2019-01-25 16:54

    Davis does some ground breaking work here. She takes an important look at what the Hebrew Scriptures have to say about agriculture. So nice to see biblical hermeneutics reach out to engage sustainability in this way. Much food for thought. Brought new depth to passages I'd never thought much about before.

  • Emma
    2019-01-30 16:50

    This is such a great example of scholarship engaging in a larger public conversation. Davis takes to the Hebrew Bible with a new lens -- contemporary agrarian writers, especially Wendell Berry. Really interesting reading of texts and thought-provoking in a variety of ways.

  • Zachary Kovitch
    2019-02-09 11:55

    truly amazing. i would call it a masterpiece through and through.

  • Sean
    2019-01-31 14:11

    Fascinating topics, but strangely tedious to get through in a sentence-to-sentence level.

  • Beth
    2019-01-29 15:11

    Incredibly dense. I realize this is meant for seminary students, but a little less seminarian language could be really valuable to regular population.