Russell L. Meek, «Intertextuality, Inner-Biblical Exegesis, and Inner-Biblical Allusion: The Ethics of a Methodology», Vol. 95 (2014) 280-291
Intertextuality has been used to label a plethora of investigations into textual relationships. During the past few decades, the debate regarding the definition of intertextuality has largely been resolved, yet scholars continue to misuse the term to refer to diachronic and/or author-centered approaches to determining textual relationships. This article calls for employing methodological vocabulary ethically by outlining the primary differences between - and different uses for - intertextuality, inner-biblical exegesis, and inner-biblical allusion.
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for examining the relationship between texts: intertextuality, inner-bib-
lical allusion, and inner-biblical exegesis 6.
After all the work that has been done, why an essay on the ethics of a
methodology? Despite the advances in methodological consistency, there
still seems to remain some confusion over exactly how and when to apply
the appropriate term to one’s task. Furthermore, after thirty years of defin-
ing and delineating terms, it is necessary that scholars begin to demon-
strate transparency and clarity in their methodological vocabulary 7.
Having myself committed the sin of misusing methodological terms, I am
all too aware of the importance of using appropriate terminology 8, espe-
cially for authors committed to treating texts and their readers ethically 9.
Thus, in an attempt to call for clarity and transparency, the present paper
will outline the three primary methods for studying the literary relation-
ships between texts in order to make clear the presuppositions and pur-
poses of each method. Our discussion will demonstrate that intertextuality
as a methodological label is problematic for scholars whose hermeneutical
presuppositions include authorial intent, unless they are willing to aban-
don the diachronic element in their work. We will conclude by outlining
principles of inner-biblical allusion and inner-biblical exegesis for deter-
See, e.g., MILLER, “Intertextuality in Old Testament Research”; B. SOM-
MER, “Exegesis, Allusion and Intertextuality in the Hebrew Bible: A Response
to Lyle Eslinger”, VT 46 (1996) 479-489; J. LEONARD, “Identifying Inner-
Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test Case”, JBL 127 (2008) 241-265; K.W.
WEYDE, “Inner-Biblical Interpretation: Methodological Reflections on the
Relationship between Texts in the Hebrew Bible”, SEÅ 70 (2005) 287-300.
Weyde also reflects on the importance of using terms precisely. But, cit-
ing the work of J. Nogalski, who utilizes synchronic and diachronic methods
in his study, Weyde suggests that creating a sharp division between intertex-
tuality and inner-biblical allusion and inner-biblical exegesis may not prove
so helpful; see WEYDE, “Inner-Biblical Interpretation”, 290-291; J. NOGALSKI,
Redactional Process in the Book of the Twelve (BZAW 218; Berlin – New
York 1993). However, I would still contend that once one moves to diachronic
reflections, one is no longer employing an intertextual method.
R.L. MEEK, “The Meaning of hbl in Qohelet: An Intertextual Sugges-
tion”, The Words of the Wise are Like Goads. Engaging Qohelet in the 21st
Century (eds. M.J. BODA – T. LONGMAN III – C.G. RATA) (Winona Lake, IN
See K.J. VANHOOZER, Is There a Meaning in this Text? The Bible, the
Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge (Landmarks in Christian
Scholarship; Grand Rapids, MI 21998) 367-452. Vanhoozer argues that “the
mandate for the ethical interpreter [is] as follows: ‘Do not bear false witness.’
An interpreter, then, is one who bears true witness to textual meaning” (Mean-
ing, 439, emphasis original).