This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic, timeless works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them.
This book is part of a series which moves the canon debate of the 1980s forward into a new multidisciplinary and cross-cultural phase by investigating problems of canon formation across the whole humanistic field. Some volumes explore the linguistic, political or anthropological dimensions of canonicity. Others examine the historical canons of individual disciplines. The important contribution to the canon debate is remarkable in examining the actual process of canon formation from three unusual and complementary angles. The first two chapters discuss historical attitudes to canons from antiquity onwards, showing the religious, aesthetic, cultural and political interests which have shaped our modern critical canons. Each of the four succeeding chapters examines an exemplary modern defendant, interpreter, or critic of canons: Ernst Gombrich, Northrop Frye, Frank Kermode, and Edward Said. A final chapter considers the origins and rationale of the contemporary debate, emphasizing the disciplinary and aesthetic problems we must confront if our cultural institutions are to meet the changing needs of the next century.
Two distinct questions about the canon of the Bible can be raised: (1) How did the biblical canon come to be?, and (2) What effect does that canon have on its readers? The former is a historical question about the formation of the biblical canon; the latter is a hermeneutical question about the function of the biblical canon. Though these questions have often been pursued in virtual isolation from one another, Spellman argues that there are considerable gains from observing the interconnections between the two lines of inquiry. On the historical question of the origin of the canon, Spellman asks, Is the shape of this collection an accident of history or a result of intelligent design? He concludes that canon-consciousness played an important role in the formation of the canon, even impinging on the work of the biblical authors themselves. On the hermeneutical question, the communities of readers of the Bible may also be shown to have been directed by their own canon-consciousness, using it as a guide in their interpretative task. In this interdisciplinary work, Spellman marshals historical, theological and hermeneutical resources in order to paint a picture of how the concept of canon can enrich reading communities of today.
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