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Abstract: The Bible is the Good Book. Everyone knows it—or at least that it commands such a reputation. Yet the Bible is not, as no book can be, a moral agent on its own. Bible interpreters work to make it so, through ongoing creative negotiations, rhetorical labor, and production processes that are often difficult to see because they work best when obscured and presented as natural. In this talk, Prof. Hicks-Keeton shows how White Evangelicals in the contemporary U.S. produce and publicize their Bible as ever “the good book”—especially as conceptions of what is "good" keep changing. Through books, blogs, museums, and other popular media, the Bible’s benevolence, like the Bible itself, is made and remade.
About: Jill Hicks-Keeton is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of Arguing with Aseneth: Gentile Access to Israel's Living God in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Does Scripture Speak for Itself? The Museum of the Bible and the Politics of Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 2022; with Cavan Concannon). Her new book Good Book: How White Evangelicals Save the Bible to Save Themselves is forthcoming from Fortress Press later this year.