Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and Its Reformation Opponents

書刊名 TitleBurning to Read: English Fundamentalism and Its Reformation Opponents
作者 AuthorJames Simpson
出版社 PublisherHarvard University Press
出版年 Year2010
語言 Language英文
(10 / 13)
ISBN-10: 0674046129
ISBN-13: 978-0674046122
Bibliography Reference (STC, Duff, GW . . .)
Web Link
撰寫日期 Date2015.2.15

Ø 書評 Review (中英文不限 Chinese or English) 

ames Simpson 在這本書中挑戰吾人對聖經歷史及英國文學史的老套說法,從新的面向帶領讀者重新檢視英國十六世紀作家,從 William Tyndale到Thomas More、Henry Howard、Earl of Surrey等人的作品。同時,作者企圖將歷史上的經驗與當代連結,大膽提問:「對當代讀者而言,聖經及解釋聖經的叢書的意義何在?」「如何解釋賞析聖經及聖經文學?」「我們對聖經及相關經典的理解如何被既有的詮釋所誘導制約?」這樣的焦慮與困頓使得信徒在閱讀聖經時身心宛如受難者般痛苦。Simpson主張這些疑問的答案吾人可以從十六世紀英國宗教改革時期解經學家所提供的論述獲得。反過來說,我們當今的困惑也可直接在這些作品中作家對各界解讀詮釋聖經的忿忿不平與激進中找到借鏡。在威嚇下閱讀聖經是洗滌心靈的最佳途徑嗎?英國十六世紀宗教改革者看似開放個人自由閱讀及解放聖經意義的桎梏,其實解經學者他們的苦悶更反映出他們對基本教義的堅持、保守、與激進。Burning to Read一書開啟研究英國十六世紀早期及當代宗教激進份子及基督教基本教義者閱讀聖經及解釋聖經新的面向,提供有興趣的讀者反觀當前全球各個宗教團體倡言信仰自由的同時卻偏執熱血佈道的矛盾。

James Simpson 現任教於美國哈佛大學英文系,為Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker教授,專攻中世紀晚期自西歐前期文學。著作包括 Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text (Longman, 1990) (second, revised edition, 2007); Sciences and the Self in Medieval Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 1995); Reform and Cultural Revolution, volume 2 in the Oxford English Literary History (Oxford University Press, 2002) (winner of the British Academy Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, 2007); and Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents (Harvard University Press, 2007). Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition was (Oxford University Press, 2010).

1. Two Hundred Years of Biblical Violence
2. Good Bible News
3. Salvation, Reading, and Textual Hatred
4. The Literal Sense and Predestination
5. Bible Reading, Persecution, and Paranoia
6. History as Error
7. Thomas More and Textual Trust
8. The Tragic Scene of Early Modern Reading

Burning to Read is a landmark in the study of fundamentalism. In James Simpson's radical reassessment, the Protestant Reformation appears not as a parent of the Enlightenment, but rather as a progenitor of the extreme and intolerant literalism that has seized every major world religion today. Written with passion as well as scholarly authority, this is a compellingly readable and utterly persuasive study of a critical moment in world history. (Amitav Ghosh)

How do we read religious books, what meanings do we take from them, and how did we come by these meanings? The history of reading scriptural texts has a renewed public importance. No period is more in need of fresh appraisal and insight than the Reformation. The way people read then informs how we read now. James Simpson's book could not be more timely: passionate, controversial, uncompromisingly frank, it partakes of the same energies as the sixteenth-century debates at the same time as it illuminates them. It is a book that demands to be read, and ruminated upon, as religious belief once again rages around us. (Brian Cummings, Professor of English, University of Sussex)
Drawing deeply on the history of biblical translation and of English literature from Tyndale through Thomas More to Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Simpson's story often challenges conventional readings of the history of biblical interpretation. (Publishers Weekly 2007-09-10)
A polemic of incandescent force. (Boyd Tonkin The Independent 2007-12-14)
James Simpson's unremittingly clever new book suggests we re-examine the early 16th century in order to make sense of contemporary culture. His aim, however, is to disabuse us of the assumption that modern liberalism can lay claim to unproblematic origins in the Protestant Reformation. (Marcus Nevitt Daily Telegraph 2008-01-05)
The English Reformation is commonly held to have provided the intellectual basis for modern liberalism. James Simpson's fascinating revisionist account turns that traditional picture on its head. Here, the Lutherans appear as the forerunners of a dangerous fundamentalism, and the traditionalists display far more intellectual sophistication than is usually supposed. (London Review of Books 2008-02-07)
What makes this study distinctive is its alertness to connections between past and present, and its sympathetic re-evaluation of church traditions as a force that moderates the divisive effects of uncontrolled scriptural interpretation, drawing on such classic studies as George Tavard's Holy Writ or Holy Church?...One hopes its message will be heard well beyond Reformation studies. (Alison Shell Church Times 2008-04-04)
Simpson explores a familiar subject--the early-16th-century debate over vernacular scripture--from a surprising angle. (E. D. Hill Choice 2008-05-01)
James Simpson has dug up a large, complicated truffle, which he examines in precise, revealing detail. In Burning to Read, this erudite and original student of later medieval and Renaissance literature focuses on a single, well-defined episode: the role of books, and more particularly the reading of the Bible, in the English Reformation...His subtle, intense, beautifully written essay helps the reader to understand, historically and existentially, why seemingly reasonable people end up burning books and executing readers. Burning to Read is a book that matters, not only for specialists in the Renaissance and Reformation, but also for the general reader. All of us, after all, now inhabit a world that uses some of Sir Basil Blackwell's beloved, beneficent books as weapons, and punishes others as if they were rebels and heretics. (Anthony Grafton Times Literary Supplement 2008-07-25)

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
The traditional interpretation of the Protestant Reformation's translation of the Scriptures into various vernacular languages is that it liberated common folk from the prisons of authoritarian readings of these writings by priests. While the translations of William Tyndale and Martin Luther, among others, most certainly had such an effect, they also, according to Harvard English professor Simpson, encouraged a literal reading of Scripture that gave rise to violence against those who refused to read the Bible in the same way. Far from a liberating process, reading Scripture involved recognition of one's unworthiness—reinforced by Scripture—and the knowledge that one's salvation had already been determined. Thus, as Simpson points out, Protestants' readings of the Scriptures put them in a double bind; the Bible they loved induced in them a self-loathing because they knew they could never live up to the many laws it required of them. Simpson's style can be workmanlike and repetitious, summarizing information at the end of each chapter and informing readers what to expect in the next. Drawing deeply on the history of biblical translation and of English literature from Tyndale through Thomas More to Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Simpson's story often challenges conventional readings of the history of biblical interpretation. (Nov.)
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