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Forbidden Fruit and Fig Leaves

Reading the Bible with the Shamed

Forbidden Fruit and Fig Leaves

Reading the Bible with the Shamed

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Paperback / softback


Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334059202
Number of Pages: 288
Published: 29/05/2020
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm

Christian theology has concentrated too much on issues around guilt and the needs of the perpetrator of sin, but ignored the strong biblical theme of shame and the needs of the sinned-against. Forbidden Fruits and Fig Leaves seeks to address this lack of serious engagement with shame in scripture.

Tracing the story of shame through the biblical story of creation, exodus and exile, Judith Rossall shows how key narratives in the Hebrew scriptures, such as those of David and Job can be read as offering commentary on shaming abuse of privilege and power. Ultimately, the book argues, the culmination of scripture is with the ultimate shaming moment - that of God, on the cross.

Provocative and timely, Forbidden Fruits and Fig Leaves demonstrates a crucial lens through which to understand scripture, and is a vital resource for preachers and biblical scholars alike.

What is shame? is it in the Bible? Do we need to talk about it? Judith Rossall explores the relationship between shame and the scriptures in her new book

Introduction vii

1 Two Exits 1 

2 Exodus and Exile 21 

3 Recovering Abel and Learning from Cain 45 

4 We Need to Talk about David 76 

5 Job: The Truth but Not the Whole Truth 92 

6 The Welcoming Messiah 109 

7 The Demanding Messiah 136 

8 The Shamed Messiah 163 

9 Looking at Jesus, Jesus Looking at Us 190

References and Bibliography 207 

Index of Bible References 213 

Index of Names and Subjects 215

Judith Rossall

Judith Rossall is tutor in Church History and Preaching at the Queen's Foundation, Birmingham, UK. She holds a PhD from Durham University on the theology of John Calvin and a ThM from Duke University, North Carolina, USA. She is an ordained Methodist Presbyter and served in two different Circuit appointments before teaching for 10 years at the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme in Salisbury, moving to her current appointment in 2013.

"Pastorally sensitive and clearly written, this book provides a thoughtful engagement with the grand biblical storyline through the lens of shame. It avoids the all-too-common trap of ditching 'sin' and 'guilt' language entirely, but shows how sin and shame are interconnected in the life of the individual, the family and wider society. This book will be a welcome addition to the libraries of preachers, pastors, practical theologians, and all who seek to cooperate with God in bringing healing to the casualties of a broken world. -- Helen Paynter, Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence, Bristol Baptist College