Narrative in the Hebrew Bible / Edition 1

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192132451
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/1993
  • Series: Oxford Bible Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Texas Christian University

Southern Methodist University

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Table of Contents

1 Strategies for Reading 1
Narrative 1
Biblical narrative 3
Historical criticism, literary criticism, and the meanings of the text 7
Varieties of interpretation: Genesis 4 through 2000 years 12
Similarity and difference 27
2 Tamar and Judah: Genesis 38 34
3 Characters and Narrators 46
Readers and people 46
The narrator 52
The characters 63
Reconstructing characters 75
Reconstructing YHWH 81
4 Abraham and Sarah: Genesis 11-22 90
5 Designs on the Plot 101
Reading for the plot: desire for order 101
Plots and points of view: Judges 10-12 112
Fracturing the plot: the codas to Judges and Samuel 120
6 Jonah and God: The Book of Jonah 129
7 The Lure of Language 147
Repetition and variation 148
Multivalence, ambiguity, and metaphor 155
Reading for the metaphor: Judges 1 158
Allusion and intertextuality 163
Reading between words and stories: the house of David 165
8 Nebuchadnezzar and the Three Jews: Daniel 3 174
9 Readers and Responsibility 189
Literature and ideology 189
The Bible and ideology 192
Genesis 2-3: women, men, and God 194
Conclusion 204
Bibliography 206
Index of Passages Cited 253
Index of Biblical Names 257
General Index 260
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