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Reading with Feeling: Affect Theory and the Bible
Fiona C. Black, Jennifer L. Koosed, editors
SemeiaSt 95
Publication Date
November 2019


Essays with a methodological and metacritical focus

The psychological approach known as affect theory focuses on bodily feelings—depression, happiness, disgust, love—and can illuminate both texts and their interpretations. In this collection of essays scholars break new ground in biblical interpretation by deploying a range of affect-theoretical approaches in their interpretations of texts. Contributors direct their attention to the political, social, and cultural formation of emotion and other precognitive forces as a corrective to more traditional historical-critical methods and postmodern approaches. The inclusion of response essays results in a rich transdisciplinary dialog, with, for example, history, classics, and philosophy. Fiona C. Black, Amy C. Cottrill, Rhiannon Graybill, Jennifer L. Koosed, Joseph Marchal, Robert Seesengood, Ken Stone, and Jay Twomey engage a range of texts from biblical, to prayers, to graphic novels. Erin Runions and Stephen D. Moore’s responses push the conversation in new fruitful directions.



  • An overview of the development of affect theory and how it has been used to interpret biblical texts
  • Examples of how to apply affect theory to biblical exegesis
  • Interdisciplinary studies that engage history, literature, classics, animal studies, liturgical studies, philosophy, and sociology

Fiona C. Black is Walter B. Cowan Professor of Religious Studies at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada. She is the author of The Artifice of Love: Grotesque Bodies and the Song of Songs (2009), the coeditor of The Labour of Reading: Desire, Alienation and Biblical Interpretation (1999), and the editor of The Recycled Bible: Autobiography, Culture, and the Space Between (2006).

Jennifer L. Koosed is Professor of Religious Studies at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is the author of (Per)mutations of Qohelet: Reading the Body in the Book (2006) and coauthor of Jesse’s Lineage: The Legendary Lives of David, Jesus, and Jesse James (2013). She is the editor of The Bible and Posthumanism(2014) and coeditor of Affect Theory and the Bible (2014).

Download volume front matter, including table of contents and introduction.

Download a printable publication sheet that you can put in your files or give to your librarian or bookstore.