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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
  Biblical Narrative: A One Paragraph Summary
I'm teaching "Biblical Narrative" this semester, David Hymes has just published three posts of full and well documented introduction to biblical narratology:
I have no desire to compete, and no intention of offering a corrective, but we are asking writers of Bible Dictionary articles (By the way have YOU offered an article for this free online dictionary project?) to provide a one paragraph summary of their entry. So I wondered, how would my paragraph read?

This is a false task because I have not written a dictionary article, but prepared a course, but still... What are the most important things to say about Biblical Narrative if one only had a few sentences?

Biblical Narrative in one paragraph:
Prose Narrative is the most widespread genre in the Bible, with examples in both Hebrew Bible - comprising most of Gen-Kings, plus other "historical" books and several shorter more focused stories like Ruth, Jonah and Esther as well as episodes elsewhere - and New Testament mainly in the Gospels and Acts. Events are recounted very much as if "seen by an observer", with minimal interpretation or interpretative clues offered by the writers, there is also minimal description, so these accounts are "fraught with background"1 meaning hearers/readers have to interpret meaning for themselves (as we do in real life). Working within such a framework, hinting much while saying little, encourages hearers to engage with these narratives rather than just enjoy them.

That's my first draft, what would you write?



1. This is Auerbach's phrase (Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. 50th ed. Princeton University Press, 2003, 18.) RETURN

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