Journal Article

Challenging Texts—Reception and Transformation of Biblical Texts in Popular Science<sup>1</sup>

Marie Vejrup Nielsen

in Literature and Theology

Volume 23, issue 3, pages 276-288
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frp042
Challenging Texts—Reception and Transformation of Biblical Texts in Popular Science1

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The reception of biblical texts within works on science by evolutionary biologists has not received much attention previously. It is, however, an interesting aspect of the reception of biblical texts in public culture today. An analysis of some of the texts provided by evolutionary biologists involved in communicating science to the general public reveals a confrontational engagement with biblical texts, such as the Book of Job and Genesis 1 and 2. This article will present examples of the biblical reception in the work of E. O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins within a context of the general reception of literature in their work, with an emphasis on how the involvement with biblical material points to the negative normativity of these texts. The article will furthermore discuss the reasons behind this involvement, especially in relation to the proposal by some evolutionary biologists to replace religious narratives with narratives based in science. This final theme points to how biblical texts seem to represent a norm, which some evolutionary biologists deem it necessary to break and replace through the reformulation of new narratives about what it means to be human.

Journal Article.  5804 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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