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Literary Criticism General

The Calling of the Nations

Exegesis, Ethnography, and Empire in a Biblical-Historic Present

edited by Mark Vessey, Sharon Betcher, Robert Daum & Harry Maier

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Jan 2011
General, Theology
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2011
    List Price

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Current notions of nationhood, communal identity, territorial entitlement, and collective destiny are deeply rooted in historic interpretations of the Bible. Interweaving elements of history, theology, literary criticism, and cultural theory, the essays in this volume discuss the ways in which biblical understandings have shaped Western – and particularly European and North American – assumptions about the nature and meaning of the nation.


Part of the Green College Lecture Series, this wide-ranging collection moves from the earliest Pauline and Rabbinic exegesis through Christian imperial and missionary narratives of the late Roman, medieval, and early modern periods to the entangled identity politics of 'mainstream' nineteenth-and twentieth-century North America. Taken together, the essays show that, while theories of globalization, postmodernism, and postcolonialism have all offered critiques of identity politics and the nation-state, the global present remains heavily informed by biblical-historical intuitions of nationhood.

About the authors

Mark Vessey is a professor in the Department of English and Canada Research Chair in Literature / Christianity and Culture at the University of British Columbia.


Mark Vessey's profile page

Sharon Betcher is an associate professor of Theology at Vancouver School of Theology.

Sharon Betcher's profile page

Robert A. Daum is an associate professor of Rabbinic Literature and Jewish Thought and Director of Iona Pacific Inter-Religious Centre at Vancouver School of Theology.

Robert Daum's profile page

Harry O. Maier is a professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at Vancouver School of Theology.

Harry Maier's profile page

Other titles by Mark Vessey