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After almost two centuries of historical criticism, biblical scholarship has recently taken major shifts in direction, most notably towards literary study of the bible. Much germinal criticism has taken as its primary focus narrative texts of the Hebrew Bible. This book provides a lucid guide to its interpretative possibilities. It tries to be both theoretical and practical, combining discussion of method and the business of reading in general with numerous illustrations through readings of particular texts.
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.
"Gunn and Fewell write with clarity and grace. Their recounting of others' work, as well as their analyses, are concise, illuminating, and provocative. Their bibliographies are just what the reader needs to pursue the points further."--K. C. Hanson, The School of Theology at Claremont
"A very helpful book."--Willard W. Winter, Cincinnati Bible Seminary
"[This book] looks fascinating and helpful for meaningful interpretation."--Frank G. Carver, Point Loma Nazarene College
"This text was well received by my students....The discussions of biblical texts are especially strong, providing excellent bases for discussions. I will use this again."--Donald K. Berry, University of Mobile
"In a compact space Gunn and Fewell have distilled a great deal of learning and sensitive reading to illustrate the richness of Hebrew narrative, and they have done it in such a way as to appeal to readers of varying religious persuasions and of none. The bibliographies are especially full and useful."--Philip Pfatteicher, East Stroudsburg University