- LAST MODIFIED: 25 April 2022
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0301
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 April 2022
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0301
Performance criticism investigates the formative force of performative contexts and their elements that contribute to the shaping and reception of the text (originally from the Latin textere “weave”). In this interpretive methodology, performance serves as an inclusive term that covers not only the oral delivery of the text but also the formation of tradition in performative contexts, ancient and modern. Performance criticism also studies the oral sound of the text and its aural reception by live audiences as well as accompanying performative features like gesture, vocal articulation, and the performer’s presence that brings the text to life. The Biblical Performance Criticism Series from Cascade Books has provided a vibrant outlet of publication.
Performance criticism explores the performative features of the ancient text, which was produced in the oral cultural matrix of antiquity and was aurally transmitted to the targeted audience and others as demonstrated in Iverson 2014 and Rhoads 2006. With performance criticism, Hearon and Ruge-Jones 2009 and Thatcher, et al. 2017 pays particular attention to the interaction of the text, performative context, and various media of communication. Lee 2010, Matthews 2019, Perry 2016, Perry 2019, Rhoads 2009, and Swanson 2010 chart the path for research and interpretations that can fruitfully uncover the rich meaning of the text through performance criticism. Ruge-Jones 2010 highlights the pedagogical application of insights from performance criticism.
Hearon, Holly E., and Philip Ruge-Jones, eds. The Bible in Ancient and Modern Media: Story and Performance. Biblical Performance Criticism. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009.
Marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the program unit of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media, this collection of articles discusses various modes of media, storytelling, and oral performance in multiple cultural settings in history.
Iverson, Kelly R., ed. From Text to Performance: Narrative and Performance Criticisms in Dialogue and Debate. Biblical Performance Criticism 10. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014.
This collection of essays compares narrative criticism with performance criticism, underscoring that the 1st-century audience experienced the text through a spoken performance.
Lee, Margaret E. “How Performance Changed My (Scholarly) Life.” Currents in Theology and Mission 37.4 (2010): 304–311.
The author underscores the performed nature of ancient literature (see Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technology of the Word [London: Methuen, 1982] and Werner Kelber, The Oral and the Written Gospel: The Hermeneutics of Speaking and Writing in the Synoptic Tradition, Mark, Paul and Q [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983]) and recommends that the text be experienced in performance rather than in a linear reading.
Matthews, Jeanette. “Scripture as Performance: Biblical Performance Criticism—What Is It and How Do I Use It?” St Mark’s Review 249.3 (2019): 93–114.
The article presents biblical performance criticism as a practice that facilitates reenactment of biblical traditions in contemporary contexts.
Perry, Peter S. Insights from Performance Criticism. Reading the Bible in the 21st Century Insights Series. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016.
The author explores ways in which performance criticism unveils the meaning of the text.
Perry, Peter S. “Biblical Performance Criticism: Survey and Prospects.” Religions 10.2 (2019): 1–15.
The article provides an overview of biblical performance criticism, which investigates communicative features of the text, and observes the dynamics of performance in a heuristic rendition of the text in view of constructing a theoretical undergirding.
Rhoads, David. “Performance Criticism: An Emerging Methodology in Second Temple Studies—Parts I and II.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 36.3–36.4. (2006): 118–133, 164–184.
This detailed introduction published in two parts elucidates the ancient context of performance and provides a lucid guide to the way performance criticism may enlist other disciplines.
Rhoads, David. “What is Performance Criticism?” In The Bible in Ancient and Modern Media: Story and Performance. Edited by Holly E. Hearon and Philip Ruge-Jones, 83–100. Biblical Performance Criticism 1. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2009.
This introduction to performance criticism proffers the matrix of performance criticism as an interpretive method.
Ruge-Jones, Philip. “Performance Criticism as Critical Pedagogy.” Currents in Theology and Mission 37.4 (2010): 288–295.
This article proffers performance criticism as critical pedagogy that helps to unveil imperial power dynamics that prevailed in the Roman Empire and persist today.
Swanson, Richard W. “Truth, Method, and Multiplicity: Performance as a Mode of Interpretation.” Currents in Theology and Mission 37.4 (2010): 312–319.
The article juxtaposes the pursuit of essential meaning in historical criticism with performance criticism that sponsors polyvalence in meaning. The author proffers the latter as a creative exercise that does justice to multiplicities of the text, life, and worship.
Thatcher, Tom, Chris Keith, Raymond F. Person, Elsie R. Stern, and Judith Odor, eds. The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
This reference work covers relevant topics relating to communications media of the biblical world including the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Nabataea and the Nabat...
- Acts of Peter
- Acts of the Apostles
- Adam and Eve
- Aelia Capitolina
- Afterlife and Immortality
- Alexander the Great
- Altered States of Consciousness in the Bible
- Ancient Christianity, Churches in
- Ancient Israel, Schools in
- Ancient Medicine
- Ancient Mesopotamia, Schools in
- Ancient Near Eastern Law
- Anti-Semitism and the New Testament
- Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
- Apocryphal Acts
- Apostolic Fathers
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Ammon and the Ammonite...
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Aram and the Arameans
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Judah and the Judeans ...
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Moab and the Moabites
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Phoenicia and the Phoe...
- Archaeology and Material Culture of the Kingdom of Israel ...
- Archaeology, Greco-Roman
- Art, Early Christian
- Astrology and Astronomy
- Barnabas, Epistle of
- Bible and Visual Art
- Biblical Criticism
- Biblical Studies, Cognitive Science Approaches in
- Caesarea Maritima
- Canon, Biblical
- Child Metaphors in the New Testament
- Children in the Hebrew Bible
- Children in the New Testament World
- Christian Apocrypha
- Chronicles, First and Second
- Cities of Refuge
- Clement, First
- Clement of Alexandria
- Clement, Second
- Conversation Analysis
- Corinthians, Second
- Cosmology, Near East
- Covenant, Ark of the
- Daniel, Additions to
- Death and Burial
- Deuteronomistic History
- Diaspora in the New Testament
- Divination and Omens
- Domestic Architecture, Ancient Israel
- Early Christianity
- Economics and Biblical Studies
- Education, Greco-Roman
- Education in the Hebrew Bible
- Election in the Bible
- Epistles, Catholic
- Epistolography (Ancient Letters)
- Esther and Additions to Esther
- Evil Eye
- Exodus, Book of
- Faith in the New Testament
- Feminist Scholarship on the Old Testament
- Flora and Fauna of the Hebrew Bible
- Food and Food Production
- Friendship, Kinship and Enmity
- Funerary Rites and Practices, Greco-Roman
- Genesis, Book of
- God, Ancient Israel
- God, Greco-Roman
- God, Son of
- Gospels, Apocryphal
- Great, Herod the
- Greco-Roman World, Associations in the
- Greek Language
- Hebrew Bible, Biblical Law in the
- Hebrew Language
- Hellenistic and Roman Egypt
- Hermas, Shepherd of
- Historiography, Greco-Roman
- Holy Spirit
- Honor and Shame
- Hosea, Book of
- Idol/Idolatry (HB/OT)
- Idol/Idolatry (New Testament)
- Imperial Cult and Early Christianity
- Infancy Gospel of Thomas
- Interpretation and Hermeneutics
- Israel, History of
- Jesus of Nazareth
- Jewish Christianity
- Jewish Festivals
- Joel, Book of
- John, Gospel of
- John the Baptist
- Jubilees, Book of
- Judaism, Hellenistic
- Judaism, Rabbinic
- Judaism, Second Temple
- Judas, Gospel of
- Jude, Epistle of
- Judges, Book of
- Judith, Book of
- Kings, First and Second
- Letters, Johannine
- Letters, Pauline
- Levirate Obligation in the Hebrew Bible
- Levitical Cities
- LGBTIQ Hermeneutics
- Literacy, New Testament
- Literature, Apocalyptic
- Lord’s Prayer
- Luke, Gospel of
- Maccabean Revolt
- Maccabees, First–Fourth
- Man, Son of
- Manasseh, King of Judah
- Manasseh, Tribe/Territory
- Mark, Gospel of
- Matthew, Gospel of
- Medieval Biblical Interpretation (Jewish)
- Midrash and Aggadah
- Minoritized Criticism of the New Testament
- Miracle Stories
- Modern Bible Translations
- Mysticism in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
- Myth in the Hebrew Bible
- Nahum, Book of
- New Testament and Early Christianity, Women, Gender, and S...
- New Testament, Feminist Scholarship on the
- New Testament, Men and Masculinity in the
- New Testament, Rhetoric of the
- New Testament, Social Sciences and the
- New Testament Studies, Emerging Approaches in
- New Testament, Textual Criticism of the
- New Testament Views of Torah
- Numbers, Book of
- Nuzi (Nuzi Tablets)
- Old Testament, Biblical Theology in the
- Old Testament, Social Sciences and the
- Orality and Literacy
- Passion Narratives
- Pauline Chronology
- Paul's Opponents
- Performance Criticism
- Period, The "Persian"
- Philo of Alexandria
- Piety/Godliness in Early Christianity and the Roman World
- Poetry, Hebrew
- Pontius Pilate
- Priestly/Holiness Codes
- Pseudepigraphy, Early Christian
- Qumran/Dead Sea Scrolls
- Race, Ethnicity and the Gospels
- Revelation (Apocalypse)
- Samuel, First and Second
- Second Baruch
- Sects, Jewish
- Sermon on the Mount
- Sexual Violence and the Hebrew Bible
- Sin (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament)
- Solomon, Wisdom of
- Song of Songs
- Succession Narrative
- Synoptic Problem
- Tales, Court
- Temples and Sanctuaries
- Temples, Near Eastern
- Ten Commandments
- The Bible and the American Civil War
- The Bible in China
- the Dead, Egyptian Book of
- the Hebrew Bible, Ancient Egypt and
- Thomas, Gospel of
- Trauma and the Bible, Hermeneutics of
- Twelve Prophets, Book of the
- Virtues and Vices: New Testament Ethical Exhortation in I...
- War, New Testament
- Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testa...
- Worship in the New Testament and Earliest Christianity
- Worship, Old Testament
- Zoology (Animals in the New Testament)