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Jonah: An Earth Bible Commentary

Jonah: An Earth Bible Commentary

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Paperback / softback

£29.99

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9780567704818
Number of Pages: 152
Published: 30/12/2021
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
Jione Havea analyses the Book of Jonah through the lens of climate change, using this present situation to reconsider the significance of Jonah for contemporary struggles and contexts, and tapping into traditional practices of commentary to draw out the meaning of the biblical text. Havea takes Jonah 3:10 as a starting point, in which God repents and rethinks (decides not to destroy), taking this as a challenge and an opportunity for biblical scholars to reflect on the realities of climate change. Havea builds on this opportunity in two ways: first, by reading Jonah forward, giving special attention to the orientation of the narrative toward the sea and Nineveh, and then backward, highlighting the significance of sea and (is)land lives to the flow of the narrative. Second, by looking at the other figures in the narrative, rather than focusing on the narrator’s obsession with Jonah and his God. Havea reminds readers that the fish, plant, worm and other beasts are also crucial in this narrative, and considers how this can change our reading of the text.

Jione Havea (Charles Sturt University, Australia)

Jione Havea is a native Methodist pastor from Tonga, a Research Fellow at Trinity Theological College, Aotearoa New Zealand, and an honorary researcher with the Public and Contextual Theology centre of Charles Sturt University, Australia.

Innovative, provocative and multi-directional, this accessible book self-consciously breaks the mould for commentaries. * Journal for the Study of the Old Testament * A commentary for people who distrust commentaries, this book is profound, incisive, and fun. With writing that ebbs and flows backwards and forwards- through time, around Pasifika, across canonical bounds-Havea weaves his audience into a conversation about and around Jonah; and alongside his artful storytelling, we must rethink ourselves, the stories we tell, and the time and space (and very meaning) of ecological justice. Plunge in and let go. * JACQUELINE M. HIDALGO, Williams College, USA * With this brilliantly innovative commentary on Jonah, Jione Havea has succeeded not only in "rocking the boat" of the biblical commentary enterprise, but he may very well have overturned it! His fresh analysis of Jonah using "native, sea and (is) land orientations" steers the commentary boat away from the conformity and compliance paradigms that characterises so much of this genre of scholarship. An invaluable resource for students and scholars who are embracing a de-colonial turn. * SAROJINI NADAR, University of the Western Cape, South Africa * An excellent and ground-breaking volume from Jione Havea! Here is a timely invitation to journey beyond Jonah and Jonah's God, entering the ebb and flow of biblical "tidalectics", and daring to take a deep plunge in, through, and beyond the sargassum deluge of interpretative attempts that drowns out the key earth(ed) players in the story. The most urgent challenge before us - climate change - demands nothing less. This is bible commentary, riding the waves, at its best. * MICHAEL JAGESSAR, The United Reformed Church, UK * Jione Havea's Earth Bible Commentary on Jonah surges with interpretive possibilities, pushing the already ideological orientation of the Earth Bible Commentary series beyond its usual shoreline. Out beyond the breakers of the 'commentary' genre, Havea immerses readers (of various kinds) in hermeneutical rips, which both disorient and summon our engagement with Jonah. [...]; The flow of Havea's Jonah casts us adrift, and in so doing provides us with resources for the work that is to be done for ecojustice.' * GERALD O. WEST, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa * In true islander fashion, Jione Havea surrenders the book of Jonah to an interpretive rip current that takes readers far from the beaches and beaching of traditional commentary. Salty, sandy, and saturated with stories, the wayward book lures us to watery domains where boats, boat people, and contaminated fish float in life-threatening limbo; casts us ashore on ancestral grounds where bushes, behemoth, and bustling cities confront our present climate crisis; and forces us to linger and look around in imperilled places where Jonah, Yhwh, the narrator, and most commentators are reluctant to go. * Danna Nolan Fewell, Drew University, United States * As editor of the Earth Bible Commentary series, I have encouraged writers to pursue a radical reorientation. But Havea's work goes beyond past efforts. It is not simply that he is an islander who identifies with the ocean and its world; he swirls the reader forward between impulses connected with God, Jonah, the fish and Nineveh. Then, when we meet the beasts in the last line of the book, he swirls us backwards to discover new dimensions of this classic ancient "satire." He even writes his work for "normal readers" to enjoy. * Normal Habel, Flinders University, Australia * Jione Havea's commentary on Jonah is astonishingly fresh - fresh enough to make one smell salty wind on the sea. By interweaving his scholarly ingenuity, artistic imagination, islander experiences and activist commitment, Havea performs his retelling of the story of Jonah, moving back and forth in the narrative, looking beyond the characters of Jonah and God, and animating other earthed and inanimate subjects. In the present age of ecological crisis and climate injustices, this troubled and troubling reading of Jonah invites readers to flow and fly across cultures beyond the limits of textuality and the conventional interpretations promoted by Western anthropocentricism and individualism. This commentary is useful not only for students of the Bible but also anyone who is interested in social, global, eco-justice as well as interfaith dialogue. I absolutely recommend it. * Jin Young Choi, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, United States * I cannot image a more effective ecological commentary on the book of Jonah than that which Jione Havea has produced. Himself a prophet and poet, he powerfully fuses ecological and contextual hermeneutics, and his eco-contextual reading strategy opens up the watery depths of this sea-borne biblical text in novel and revealing ways. * STEPHEN D. MOORE, Drew University, USA *

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