The Bible has for a long time directed and channelled the human war on impurity; what are we to make of it becoming a legitimate target for becoming a source of inspiration for disgust and revulsion?
Biblia Excrementa examines the less savoury and certainly less reverential receptions of biblical texts in modern culture, analysing those readings that question the Bible's status by means of abject tropes (excrement, spoilt food, bodily fluids, the dead body, etc). Critically engaging with Julia Kristeva's work on the formation and regulation of identity through processes of fascinated revulsion, the book considers how the surprisingly frequent excrementalising of biblical texts betrays a series of political operations by which the idea 'Bible' is being (re)negotiated and (re)produced.
Individual chapters perform close readings of performance art, sculpture, poetry, zombie fiction, and stand-up comedy, arguing against the idea that biblical literacy is in terminal decline or that a rampant programme of secularisation is destabilising the Bible's social and cultural significance. Rather, the Bible's power is being reorganised into formations that are not readily recognized by traditional forms of commentary, or else not considered legitimate by commentators. In other words, the shitty, rotting obverse of the biblical brand provides the ideal platform for considering the borders of the Bible's cultural condition, where the processes that regulate and perpetuate its social influence are most evident. Transgressing these borders takes our view of the socially constructed Bible beyond its official authorized versions.