Narrative in the Hebrew Bible

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1993-07-29
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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After almost two centuries of historical criticism, biblical scholarship has recently taken major shifts in direction, most notably toward literary study of the Bible. Much germinal criticism has taken as its primary focus narrative texts of the Hebrew Bible (the "Old Testament"). This study provides a lucid guide to the interpretive possibilities of this movement. Attempting to be both theoretical and practical, it combines discussion of methods and the business of reading in general with numerous illustrations through readings of particular texts. Gunn and Fewell discuss how literary criticism is related to other dominant ways of reading the text over the last two thousand years. In addition, they address characters, including the narrator and God; plot, modifying recent theory to accommodate the peculiar complexity of biblical narratives; and the play of language through repetition, ambiguity, multivalence, metaphor, and intertextuality. Finally, the authors discuss readers and responsibility, exploring the ideological dimension of narrative interpretation. An extensive bibliography completes the book, arranged by subject and biblical text.

Table of Contents

Strategies for Readingp. 1
Narrativep. 1
Biblical narrativep. 3
Historical criticism, literary criticism, and the meanings of the textp. 7
Varieties of interpretation: Genesis 4 through 2000 yearsp. 12
Similarity and differencep. 27
Tamar and Judah: Genesis 38p. 34
Characters and Narratorsp. 46
Readers and peoplep. 46
The narratorp. 52
The charactersp. 63
Reconstructing charactersp. 75
Reconstructing YHWHp. 81
Abraham and Sarah: Genesis 11-22p. 90
Designs on the Plotp. 101
Reading for the plot: desire for orderp. 101
Plots and points of view: Judges 10-12p. 112
Fracturing the plot: the codas to Judges and Samuelp. 120
Jonah and God: The Book of Jonahp. 129
The Lure of Languagep. 147
Repetition and variationp. 148
Multivalence, ambiguity, and metaphorp. 155
Reading for the metaphor: Judges 1p. 158
Allusion and intertextualityp. 163
Reading between words and stories: the house of Davidp. 165
Nebuchadnezzar and the Three Jews: Daniel 3p. 174
Readers and Responsibilityp. 189
Literature and ideologyp. 189
The Bible and ideologyp. 192
Genesis 2-3: women, men, and Godp. 194
Conclusionp. 204
Bibliographyp. 206
Index of Passages Citedp. 253
Index of Biblical Namesp. 257
General Indexp. 260
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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