(PUBEerdmans)Knowing what kind of material you are reading is critical to knowing how it should be interpreted. Johnson fully discusses the eight major biblical forms of literature---wisdom, liturgical, legal, prophetic, historical, apocalyptic, epistolary, and Gospel. Valuable findings for multiple purposes. 136 pages, softcover.
Focusing on the eight major literary forms in the Bible--wisdom literature, liturgical materials, quasi-historical material, prophetic writings, collections of laws and precepts, apocalyptic literature, letters, and Gospels--Johnson describes each form's central features to give readers a sense of what to expect from each and how to approach it.
Now retired as director of Fortress Press, he has been involved in teaching and publishing in the area of biblical studies for several decades. A former Fulbright lecturer and researcher at the University of Bergen, Norway, he has a doctorate in biblical studies from Union Seminary, New York. He is also the author of The Purpose of the Biblical Genealogies.
Dale C. Allison Jr.
This is a superb introduction to the Bible and its various literary types. Marshall Johnson is a sure and careful guide whose splendid clarity helpfully exposes both the diversity of the biblical documents as well as their common emphases. Readers will find this brief but wide-ranging book full of wise, practical advice.
For the most part, literary typology as an instrument of interpretation has been the province of academics. In this brief volume, Johnson shows remarkable success in broadening that use to a wide, nonacademic audience
. This eminently sensible and attractively written book deserves a broad audience. Highly recommended.
Currents in Theology & Mission
A no-nonsense guide to understanding the Bible
. Consider it for your parish library; its brief, but helpful.
No book in the Western world has evoked more diverse interpretations than the Bible. One reason for this multiplicity of interpretation is the vast historical gap lying between the writing of the Scriptures and our own time. Can ordinary persons today really make sense of this body of ancient literature?
In Making Sense of the Bible Marshall Johnson gives readers the tools needed to better understand Scripture by teaching them to recognize and handle the diverse kinds of literature that make up the Bible. Focusing on the eight major literary forms in the Bible wisdom literature, liturgical materials, quasi-historical material, prophetic writings, collections of laws and precepts, apocalyptic literature, letters, and Gospels Johnson describes each form's central features and gives readers a sense of what to expect from each literary form and how to approach it. In addition, helpful appendixes discuss the forms of ancient Hebrew poetry, highlight the major literary types in biblical books, and provide suggestions for further reading.
For inquisitive laypeople or students in search of the original meaning of the Bible, this book provides a thoughtful, concise, and nonsectarian introduction.
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