A Biblical Text and Its Afterlives: The Survival of Jonah in Western Culture.
A Biblical Text and Its Afterlives: The Survival of Jonah in Western Culture. By Yvonne Sherwood (Cambridge, $25.99). S. not only offers a fine survey of and response to biblical scholarship on Jonah but also deals with treatments of Jonah in art, literature, and popular culture. Luther (who used Jonah to denounce Judaism and also muses on the absurdities of the book) and Calvin pass in review, as do contemporary exegetes, literary theorists, and artists over the ages (there are seventeen black-and-white plates). The first section of the book, "The Mainstream," overviews Christian and scholarly interpretations of Jonah from Jesus until today. The second section, "Backwaters and Underbellies." pays special attention to Jewish and popular interpretations. In a third section, "Regurgitating Jonah," she considers modern theories of reading and then gives her own post-structuralist exegesis of this very short book. As one reviewer also puts it, S. is incapable of writing a bland sentence. RWK