Jonah: An earth Bible commentary

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Climate change, a devastating reality in and of the current time, is an opportunity to reconsider the significance of biblical texts for life situations and struggles, which differ between different contexts, as well as the purposes and practices of biblical commentary. The book of Jonah, which has been explained by so many commentators over so many years in so many (is)lands, and the ecological drives of the Earth Bible Commentary (EBC) series, provide me with this opportunity (and excuse) to rethink, to repent (as did God in Jonah 3:10) and to tap (into) the flows of the commentary (as traditionally understood) business. This EBC volume takes advantage of this opportunity in two ways: first, by reading the Jonah narrative forward, giving special attention to the orientation of the narrative toward the sea and (looking back from the hinterland) toward Nineveh, and then read the same narrative backward, highlighting the difference that sea and native (is)land matters make to rereading the biblical narrative. And second, by not buying into the narrator’s obsession with Jonah and his God, as if they are the only characters who matter in the narrative. Sea, wind, boat, fish, city, hinterland, sun, bush, worm and beasts—which are earth(ed) characters in the book of Jonah—also have roles and voices in this narrative and they matter in this commentary.

My drive in this EBC work is not to repeat what other humans say about the book of Jonah (so this commentary lacks a literature review, some of which are repeated and engaged in my previous publications on Jonah, but references are given to works that give further explanations of or alternative views to the readings proposed), but to reflect on the significance of earth(ed) subjects in and for the narrative. This is therefore not a traditional commentary in the western academic sense, but a commentary that has been traditioned in the native sense – it is a commentary with land, sea, underworld and native (is)land orientations. Politically, this EBC work seeks to be relevant for normal readers as well. My sense of who and what are normal is generous, for my obsession is not to please only the scholarly authorities but to also provide a platform upon which academic, church, community, labour and activist interests may intersect.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon, England
PublisherT&T Clark (International)
Number of pages138
ISBN (Electronic)9780567693778, 9780567674555
ISBN (Print)9780567674548
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameEarth Bible Commentary


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