The Art of Biblical Narrative Read & Download Ö 104

Summary The Art of Biblical Narrative

The Art of Biblical Narrative Read & Download Ö 104 ☆ In what is both a radical approach to the Bible and a fundamental return to its narrative prose Robert Alter reads the Old Testament with new eyes—the eyes of a literary critic Alter takes the old yet simple step of reading the Bible as a literary creationIn what is both a radical approach to the Bible and a fundamental return to its narra. The author is a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature not a theologian or “biblical scholar” This is the basis for a perspective on the Old Testament to which most Christian readers do not have access Consider for example the talking snake of Genesis 3; fictionalized prose or historically accurate Most conservative Christians don’t want to go there Might there be something to be gained by doing so

Robert Alter Õ 4 Free read

Tive prose Robert Alter reads the Old Testament with new eyes the eyes of a literary. Alter Robert The Art of Biblical Narrative New York Basic Books 1981Within a few pages I knew I was in the presence of a master Not only is Robert Alter in complete command of the Hebrew language but he is second to none in English literature as well Both are obvious in this workI am perfectly willing to grant an editorial process to the Hebrew text I think that is common sense That however does not justify the multiple sub authorships that critical scholars have posited And while Alter is no bible thumping evangelical his illustration of the remarkable textual unity and narrative in the Hebrew bible makes all older critical theories superfluous The Hebrew text has a unity illustrated by “small verbal signals of continuity and lexical nuances” Alter 11 An example of this is the Judah and Tamar story of Genesis 38 At first glance it has nothing to do with the Joseph narrative; in fact it disrupts it What Alter demonstrates however is that there is a theme of “recognition” in play that factors in both the Tamar episode and in the later Joseph sceneDialogue “Biblical narrative is laconic” 20 Dialogue is introduced at key junctures in the narrativeThis “brings the speech act into the foreground” 67 Nota bene When the Hebrew uses “hinneh” KJV Behold it often marks a shift in the narrative point of view from the third person omniscient to the character’s direct perception 54Pace older critics the Hebrew text cannot be read as an epic Epic literature was locked in a pagan and cyclical worldview Hebrew prose narration by contrast moves in a different direction 25ffBiblical type scenes The most famous type scene is the well betrothalproposal Older critics saw multiple scenes as evidence that ancient Jews were too stupid to realize a copy incidentally much of historical criticism was viciously anti Semitic What Alter shows is that it isn’t wooden plagiarism but brilliant narratologyIn the betrothal scene the hero would go down to the girl’s land and meet the girl Heb na’arah Someone then draws dalohdalah water after which the girls rush home to tell the news A betrothal is then concluded 52 If however something in this template weren’t followed the reader would immediately guess that the marriage wouldn’t be happyAlter explains that in “reliable third person narratives such as in the Bible there is a scale of means in ascending order of strictness and certainty for conveying information about the motives the attitudes the moral nature of characters” 116 In other words at the lower end we can only learn about the character through actions or appearance meaning we have to infer everything else A middle category is direct speech to which we must “weigh claims” 117 At the highest level we have explicit statementsNarrative and Knowledge “We learn through fiction because we encounter in it the translucent images the writer has cunningly projected out of an intuitively grasped fund of experience not dissimilar to our own” experiences 156 Fiction is a mode of knowledge “because it is a certain way of imagining characters and events in their shifting elusive and revelatory interconnections but also because it possesses a certain repertoire of techniues for telling a story”This is a benchmark in biblical studies Few people can read this work and hold to older wooden theories of higher criticism To be sure Alter is a Jewish scholar and makes some criticisms of “incarnational readings” He also entertains some critical editorial notions of the text With that said this book deserves widest possible dissemination

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The Art of Biblical NarrativeCritic Alter takes the old yet simple step of reading the Bible as a literary creatio. This is the first major book length treatment of the Bible as literature and was published in the 1980s I especially enjoyed the chapter Composite Artistry In that chapter Alter showed that contradictions in the Bible were due not to sloppiness by the unsophisticated ancients was often assumed but the deliberate thrust of a literary geniusMost memorable was the section on the 2 different creation accounts in Genesis The P account Gen 1 24 presents an orderly narrative of the creation of the cosmos and mankind The J account presents a contingent messy and tragic narrative meant to illustrate the conseuences of human agency Although Alter believes the narratives to be fictional this book provides me with a great theodicy As John Polkinghorne has said it is much easier to see God in physics than in biology Alter's analysis of Gen 1 2 has just shown me why