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Hidden Transcripts and the Arts of Resistance: Applying the Work of James C. Scott to Jesus and Paul
Richard A. Horsley
SemeiaSt 48
Publication Date
November 2004


The essays in this volume develop the highly suggestive insights and theory of James C. Scott—especially those related to patterns of domination and subordination, the role of religion in supporting or opposing the powerful, and the “arts of resistance” by the subordinated—to tacklekey issues in the interpretation of Jesus and Paul. All the contributors implicitly or explicitly assume a stance sympathetic with subordinated peoples of the past and present. While all pursue primarily critical literary, historical, and social analysis on New Testament texts in historical contexts, some also examine illuminating historical or contemporary comparative materials. In addition, some even find Scott useful in critical self-examination of our own scholarly motives, stances, and approaches in relation to texts and their uses.

Richard A. Horsley is Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and the Study of Religion at University of Massachusetts Boston. His work includes Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder; Hearing the Whole Story: The Politics of Plot in Mark’s Gospel; Galilee: History, Politics, People; and Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine.


Introduction—Jesus, Paul, and the “Arts of Resistance”: Leaves from the Notebook of James C. Scott
—Richard A. Horsley

Part 1: Jesus, Hidden Transcripts, and the Arts of Resistance

The Arts of Resistance in an Age of Revolt
—Allen Dwight Callahan

Onstage and Offstage with Jesus of Nazareth: Public Transcripts, Hidden Transcripts, and Gospel Texts
—William R. Herzog II

The Politics of Disguise and Public Declaration of the Hidden Transcript: Broadening Our Approach to the Historical Jesus with Scott’s “Arts of Resistance” Theory
—Richard A. Horsley

James C. Scott and New Testament Studies: A Response to Allen Callahan, William Herzog, and Richard Horsley
—Warren Carter

Part 2: Hidden Transcripts and Arts of Resistance in Paul’s Letters

Strategies of Resistance and Hidden Transcripts in the Pauline Communities
—Neil Elliott

The Role of Symbolic Inversion in Utopian Discourse: Apocalyptic Reversal in Paul and in the Festival of the Saturnalia/Kronia
—Erik M. Heen

Reconstructing “Resistance” or Reading to Resist: James C. Scott and the Politics of Interpretation
—Cynthia Briggs Kittredge

Hidden Transcripts and Arts of Resistance in Paul’s Letters: A Response
—Susan M. (Elli) Elliott

Explicating Domination and Resistance: A Dialogue between James C. Scott and Biblical Scholars
—Gerald West