Thursday, July 13, 2017

Reviews of Lin’s Erotic Life of Manuscripts

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Sometime in the spring while my head was still in boxes, BBR published my review of Yii-Jan Lin’s provocatively titled book The Erotic Life of Manuscripts: New Testament Textual Criticism and the Biological Sciences (Oxford, 2016). I must say that I did not expect to like the book when I first picked it up but the more I read the more it grew on me. There were still some problems and some... weirdness (cyborgs, anyone?), but overall I found it a helpful exercise to step back and consider the conceptual metaphors we use in the discipline. Lin admits up front that she is an outsider and occasionally it shows. But, on the whole, her outsider perspective was more benefit than liability. 

Here is my conclusion:
In the end, what is most enduring and helpful about Lin’s book is not its particular conclusions (will any be taken with her “cyborg” textual model?), but its method of interrogating past practitioners to see how their categories of thought have shaped their work. In that the work succeeds admirably and should generate a good deal more self-awareness on the part of textual scholars.

2 comments :

  1. looks like a fascinating book, I went to amazon right away to pick it up, but not at that price!

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  2. Odd. When I looked it up the other day, it was listed at $204! Now it's down to $82. That's much better, obviously, but still about twice what I would have to pay for it.

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