The Bible As Literature

The Bible As Literature
by John B. Gabel, Charles B. Wheeler, Anthony D York

John B. Gabel, Charles B. Wheeler, both Emeritus Professors, both at Ohio State University and Anthony D. York, Estelle Hunt Professor of Biblical Literature, University of Cincinnati

Oxford Press Book Description
As in the widely popular earlier editions, the latest revision of this comprehensive and systematic text approaches the Bible from a literary/historical perspective and studies it as a body of writing produced by real people who intended to convey messages to real audiences. Avoiding assessments of the Bible's truth or authority, the authors maintain a rigorously objective tone as they discuss such major issues as the forms and strategies of biblical writing, its actual historical and physical settings, the process of canon formation, the sources of the Pentateuch, and the nature of such biblical genres as prophecy, apocalypse, and gospel. Each chapter is an independent yet related essay. The Fourth Edition has been enhanced by the addition of two new chapters: "Judaism in the Intertestamental Period" and "The Hellenistic Background of the New Testament." Also new are an appendix on Palestine in the intertestamental period, a set of review questions on the text of the book, and a glossary of biblical/literary terms. In addition, the reading lists following each chapter have been completely updated to reflect the most recent scholarship. The result is an easy-to-use, exciting presentation of the Bible that will be indispensable to students and accessible to readers of all kinds.

* Includes the study of the Bible from literary and historic perspectives.
* Analyzes the literary forms and stragies of the Bible's authors
* Discusses the physical setting of biblical authorship, parallel literatures from non-biblical cultures, and the problems of translation.
* Two new chapters replace old Chapter 11: "The Intertestamental Period": new Chapter 11: "Judiasm in the Intertestamental Period" and the new Chapter 12: "The Hellenistic Background of the New Testament."
* New set of review questions as an aid to study
* New glossary of literary tersms
* New Appendix on "Palestine in the Intertestamental Period."

How to Read the Bible as Literature

by Leland Ryken

Editorial Reviews
From the Back Cover
Why the Good Book Is a Great Read

If you want to rightly understand the Bible, you must begin by recognizing what it is: a composite of literary styles. It is meant to be read, not just interpreted. The Bible’s truths are embedded like jewels in the rich strata of story and poetry, metaphor and proverb, parable and letter, satire and symbolism. Paying attention to the literary form of a passage will help you understand the meaning and truth of that passage.

How to Read the Bible as Literature takes you through the various literary forms used by the biblical authors. This book will help you read the Bible with renewed appreciation and excitement and gain a more profound grasp of its truths.

Designed for maximum clarity and usefulness, How to Read the Bible as Literature includes * sidebar captions to enhance organization * wide margins ideal for note taking * suggestions for further reading * appendix: "The Allegorical Nature of the Parables" * indexes of persons and subjects

Excerpted from How to Read the Bible as Literature by Leland Ryken. Copyright © 1985. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Chapter One Is the Bible Literature? New Directions in Biblical Studies THERE IS A QUIET REVOLUTION GOING ON in the study of the Bible. At its center is a growing awareness that the Bible is a work of literature and that the methods of literary scholarship are a necessary part of any complete study of the Bible. There are two sides to the movement: literary scholars are showing increasing interest in applying their methods to the Bible, and Bible scholars are calling for a literary approach. A number of ingredients make up this new approach to the Bible: a concern with the literary genres of the Bible; a new willingness to treat biblical texts as finished wholes instead of as a patchwork of fragments; a focus on the Bible as it now stands instead of conducting excavations in the redaction (editing) process behind the text; an inclination to use literary instead of traditional theological terms to discuss the stories and poems of the Bible; an appreciation for the artistry of the Bible; a sensitivity to the experiential, extra-intellectual (more-than-ideational) dimension of the Bible. But above all, the new attitude toward the Bible involves a growing awareness that literature expresses truth in its own way, different from ordinary propositional discourse. In other words, when the Bible employs a literary method, it asks to be approached as literature and not as something else. In the words of C. S. Lewis, "There is a … sense in which the Bible, since it is after all literature, cannot properly be read except as literature; and the different parts of it as the different sorts of literature they are." Defining the Term "Literature" The purpose of this opening chapter is to identify what makes a text "literature."

About the Author
Leland Ryken (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois, where he has twice received the "teacher of the year" award.

The Bible and Literature: A Reader

by David Jasper, Stephen Prickett, Andrew Hass

An advanced reader with many examples of English and American prose and poetry that have been influenced by Bible stories. The strength of this book is the commentary on how Bible passages have been interpreted from various religious perspectives. This reader collects some of the most important passages from the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, with introductions and commentaries and illustrates texts from literature which use and incorporate these passages in different ways. It explores how closely the Bible is linked with some of the great imaginative literature in English, beginning with the creation stories in Genesis and moving through to the visions of the End in Revelation. There are extensive introductory essays and full reading lists.

There is no book more important for our culture than the Bible, and it is fundamental to the study of English literature and language. But today, the Bible is actually little read and its resonance in poetry, plays, and fiction is becoming forgotten and lost.

This volume leads the reader not only on an exploration of some of our greatest literature, but also revitalizes essential interest in the Bible.

David Jasper Profile:

Stephen Prickett is Regius Professor
Emeritus of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow, and a visiting scholar at Duke University, North Carolina. He was born in Sierra Leone, educated in Canterbury, England, and took his BA at Cambridge (Trinity Hall) and a Dip. Ed. at Oxford (University College) before going to Nigeria to teach from 1963-5. Back in Cambridge he completed his Ph.D. in 1968. From 1967 to 82 he taught at the University of Sussex, before moving to the Chair of English at the Australian National University in Canberra (1983-89). Other posts include visiting professorships at Smith College, Massachusetts (1970-71) the University of Minnesota (1979-80), Aarhus University, Denmark (1997), and the National University of Singapore (1999). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, former Chairman of the U.K. Higher Education Foundation, former President of the European Society for the Study of Literature and Theology, President of the George MacDonald Society, and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Artois.

Andrew Hass Editor of the Oxford journal Literature and Theology, where I engage with international scholars working in the fields of religion, literature, theory and culture. The Journal helps to sponsor biannual conferences around Europe, and we hope Stirling can be a future site.

A History of the English Bible as Literature

by David Norton

"In a volume this detailed, a nod in the direction of the enormous vogue for such interpretation of the Bible since about 1960 would be appropriate. Accessible and recommended for undergraduate and graduate collections that do not own the two-volume edition." Choice "This edition of the two-volume History of the Bible as Literature (1993) cuts down the material to more manageable proportions by confining the focus to the English Bible, reducing the number of examples, and omitting the appendices." Theology Digest "Norton's magisterial a treasure trove for anyone who is interested in the cultural imapct of the Bible in the English-speaking world." Religious Studies Review "This is a very good book indeed...Norton's volume is filled on every page with the true scholar's eye for detail and understanding of the whole field...Norton's fine book does a good deal to begin to restore the Bible to its proper place in English language cultural history." Theology Today

Product Description:
A History of the English Bible as Literature (revised and condensed from the author's acclaimed History of the Bible as Literature CUP, 1993) explores five hundred years of religious and literary ideas. At its heart is the story of how the King James Bible went from being mocked as English writing to being "unsurpassed in the entire range of literature." It studies the Bible translators, writers such as Milton and Bunyan who contributed so much to our sense of the Bible, and a fascinating range of critics and commentators.

Staff Profile David Norton Associate Professor,MA, MLitt Camb
Administrative Responsibilities, Head of School, Programme Director, English

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