The Prostitute and the Prophet: Hosea's Marriage in Literary-theoretical Perspective

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The only consensus that has been reached on Hosea 1-3 is that it is a notoriously 'problematic' text. Sherwood unpicks this rather vague statement by examining the particular complexities of the text and frictions between the text and reader that conspire to produce such a disorientating effect. Four dimensions of the 'problem' are considered: the conflict between text and reader over the 'improper' relationship between Hosea and Gomer; the bizarre prophetic sign-language that conscripts people into a cosmic charade; the text's propensity to subvert its central theses; and the emergent tensions between the feminist reader and the text. Aiming to bring together literary criticism and biblical scholarship, this book provides lucid introductions to ideological criticism, semiotics, deconstruction and feminist criticism, and looks at the implications of these approaches not only for the book of Hosea but for biblical studies in general.