Theatre, Drama & Cinema

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The Bible as Theatre


Author Text to Follow


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-898723-50-9
Hardback Price: £49.50 / $69.50
Release Date: September 2002
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-898723-51-6
Paperback Price: £16.95 / $32.50
Release Date: September 2002
Page Extent / Format: 288 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Part I Samuel's Initiation: On the Possibility of Biblical Theatre

Part II Female Presentations: Oppressed and Liberated
1. The Concubine in Gibeah: the Female Body as a Stage-prop
2. Deborah: Anti-Feminism in Text and Stage Directions
3. Tamar: Acting-out a Role Imposed
4. Ruth: the Shrew-ing of the Tame
5. Esther and the Head of the Sceptre

Part III Women and Men, Physics and Metaphysics
6. "The Voice of my Beloved Knocketh"
7. The Educational Theatre of Proverbs

Part IV Prophets as Performers
8. Elisha: Religion, Sex and Miracles
9. Jonah: a Quest Play
10. Ezekiel: the Holy Actor

Part V Leaders: A Theatrical Gaze
11. Moses in Flesh and Spirit
12. Jehu's Bloody Show
13. The (Unabridged) Play of David and Bathsheba


Levy is a sensitive, often original interpreter of the Hebrew Bible, and this first book-length treatment opens an interesting dialogue about ‘the Bible as Theatre’.

Levy finds within the stories of Deborah, Ruth, Esther, and the concubine of Gibeah a highly sophisticated portrayal of women by ancient writers who, Levy holds, have some strong “pro-feminist” views . . . His viewpoint offers the reader some wonderfully refreshing ways of looking at stories that have been either overlooked or ignored by Christians and Jews alike.
... Levy is able to show that traditional interpretation accepted by most biblical scholars about how to interpret the prophesies of Elisha, Jonah, and Ezekiel can be both confirmed and more deeply informed through his “theatrical” reading of these prophets and their stories.
... His theatrical interpretations open the possibilities for re-interpreting these stories and posit the possibility of non-standard insights that could easily enlighten the inquisitive mind. His understanding of ancient Hebrew history and culture inform his theatrical study and training in such a way as to give him a distinctively Jewish, yet strongly dramatic methodology for interpreting these ancient stories.
... Levy offers in this study an extremely skilful approach to seeing the performative aspects in the stories. Many books and articles have been written analyzing the dramatic elements in various literary and historical writing, but few scholars have shown the exciting insights that Levy presents when he is discussing just how a particular text could or would have been performed before an audience.
... A welcome addition to the world of theatrical and dramatic scholarship [it] comes with the recommendation that it is well worth the time to read.
Journal of Theatre and Performance

Rich and provocative readings of biblical texts.
H-Net; H-Judaic

This is a book to be read with the Bible at one's side: by treating these texts on a strictly factual, down-to-earth basis, with due reverence but without uncritical devotion, it not only deepens one's understanding of a multitude of cultural, social and historical aspects of its contents, but also re-tells these tremendous stories with riveting detail, emotion and suspense.
Martin Esslin

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