Canonicity and authority of one textual form over another, textual plurality, and scribal freedom in the early transmission of the Hebrew Bible have in the recent decades become prominent topics in the methodological discussions of biblical scholars. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it has become clear that, when attempting to discern the oldest text of the Hebrew Bible, we are in need of new and better models of textual transmission that take into account all extant textual evidence. Working solely on the basis of the so-called Masoretic Text is no more methodologically tenable, especially when it comes to the methods of literary and redaction criticism. Finding parallel phenomena – ancient or modern – of similar textual pluralities and evolution could help to refine these new models.
In this article it is argued that the editing of the Hebrew Bible and editing of films can in many regards be seen as parallel phenomena. Both the Hebrew Bible and the Star Wars saga evidence similar editorial techniques and attitudes of their editors towards the texts. Using the Star Wars saga as an example of how the text- and literary critical methods of biblical studies can be applied to the textual evolution of films, it will be argued that there are multiple ways these parallels from Star Wars and Film Studies can in turn enhance our understanding of the textual evolution of the Hebrew Bible.
The Star Wars franchise is also in a textually active situation, with new canonical installments being filmed at the very moment. This makes it an excellent example of a constantly evolving literary work, which is also at a constant interaction with its core audience, namely the fan community, paralleling the ancient situation. Moreover, the un-centralized nature of the Star Wars fan-editing community is argued to form a parallel with the scribal cultures in charge of the transmission of the books of the Hebrew Bible during the era when no textual tradition had yet emerged as the one and only authoritative version.
"Editorial In(ter)ventions: Comparing the Editorial Processes of the Hebrew Bible and the Star Wars Saga,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 22
, Article 37.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol22/iss1/37