Next Article in Journal
Religious Heterogamy, Marital Quality, and Paternal Engagement
Next Article in Special Issue
Experiencing Justice from the Inside Out: Theological Considerations about the Church’s Role in Justice, Healing, and Forgiveness
Previous Article in Journal
From a Jewish Communist to a Jewish Buddhist: Allen Ginsberg as a Forerunner of a New American Jew
Previous Article in Special Issue
Natives Need Prison: The Sanctification of Racialized Incarceration
Article Menu

Article Versions

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Religions 2019, 10(2), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020101

Carceral Hermeneutics: Discovering the Bible in Prison and Prison in the Bible

Received: 16 December 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 10 February 2019
PDF [566 KB, uploaded 10 February 2019]

Abstract

This essay introduces the concept of “carceral hermeneutics,” the art of interpreting Scripture from within prisons as, or alongside, incarcerated persons. Reading the Bible in prison reframes the Bible as a whole, highlighting how the original sites of textual production were frequently sites of exile, prison, confinement, and control. Drawing on the work of Lauren F. Winner, the author explores the “characteristic damages” of reading the Bible without attention to the carceral and suggests that physically re-locating the task of biblical interpretation can unmask interpretative damage and reveal alternative, life-giving readings. The essay concludes with an extended example, showing how the idea of cruciformity is a characteristically damaged reading that extracts Jesus’ execution from its carceral context. Carceral hermeneutics surfaces a Gospel counter-narrative in which Jesus flees violence and opts for his own safety. Jesus as a refugee (Matt 2), a fugitive (Matt 4:12–17), and a victim escaping violence (Luke 4:14–30) stand alongside Jesus as an executed person to offer a wider range of options for a “christoformity” in which people can image God while fleeing from violence in order to preserve their own lives and freedom.
Keywords: incarceration; prison; carceral; hermeneutics; Bible; Matthew; Luke; exile; trauma; imago Dei; biblical exegesis; domestic violence incarceration; prison; carceral; hermeneutics; Bible; Matthew; Luke; exile; trauma; imago Dei; biblical exegesis; domestic violence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Jobe, S. Carceral Hermeneutics: Discovering the Bible in Prison and Prison in the Bible. Religions 2019, 10, 101.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top