Art as Biblical Commentary is not just about biblical art but, more importantly, about biblical exegesis and the contributions visual criticism as an exegetical tool can make to biblical exegesis and commentary. Using a range of texts and numerous images, J. Cheryl Exum asks what works of art can teach us about the biblical text. 'Visual criticism' is her term for an approach that addresses this question by focusing on the narrativity of images-reading them as if, like texts, they have a story to tell-and asking what light an image's 'story' can shed on the biblical narrator's story.
In Part I, Exum elaborates on her approach and offers a personal testimony to the value of visual criticism. Part 2 examines in detail the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 and 21. Part 3 contains chapters on erotic looking and voyeuristic gazing in the stories of Bathsheba, Susanna, Joseph and Potiphar's wife and the Song of Songs; on the distribution of renown among Jael, Deborah and Barak; on the Bible's notorious women, Eve and Delilah; and on the sacrificed female body in the stories of the Levite's wife (Judges 19) and Mary the mother of Jesus.