Comparative essay focusing on two Old Testament narratives
Select two narratives,Possible narratives: Ruth; Jonah; Esther; The Elijah Cycle; The Ark narrative; the Joseph Saga.
Using Narrative Criticism, provide an analysis of each narrative: Some aspects of narrative criticism to attend to are: Characterization, plot, narrative time, narrative point of view, setting, symbolism, irony, and misunderstanding.
How does each narrative contribute to Israeli??s theological development? How might this narrative have addressed the needs of its original audience? What do the texts tell us about God?
Conclude your analysis by drawing attention to any major similarities or differences between the two narratives that you discovered through your analysis. Use the following books for referencing.
Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative (2nd edition; New York: Basic Books, 2011).
Duvall J. Scott., and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping Gods Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading,
Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012).
Enns, Peter. Inspiration and Incarnation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005).
Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All its Worth (3rd edition; Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 2003).
Jacobs, A.J. The Year of Living Biblically: One Mani??s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007).
Osborne, Grant. The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation
(Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).
Pratt, Richard L. He Gave Us Stories: The Bible Studenti??s Guide to Interpreting Old Testament
Narrative (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 1990).
Sandy, D. Brent., and Ronald L. Giese (eds). Cracking Old Testament Codes: A Guide to Interpreting the Literary Genres of the Old Testament (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1995). Note the following infor from lecture notes
William Baird recognises the importance of stories for human developing a symbolic world.
i??The overarching vision of reality can be described as a symbolic universe i?? a concept which gives meaning to the smaller stories in which all persons participate.i?? (Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1, p 735)
An important tool for interpreting a passage is narrative criticism. This helps us to discern the narrative dynamics in a biblical text, and the authori??s intention revealed through the story, plot, characterisation, narrative commentary and outcome.? In other words, narrative criticism is about finding out what happens to whom, by whom, in what kind of way.? It asks the basic story questions: Where? When? Who? What? How? Why? When the specific focus is on the narrative outcome, especially in myself, the reader, and my response to the story, narrative criticism can be called reader response criticism.
? How do I respond to the story?? How does the writer elicit this response from me?? i??Criticismi?? is the art of applying tools of judgement (from Greek i??kritoi??) to the work of literature in order to understand the writeri??s intention or meaning in the work.
? i??Narrativei?? criticism discerns the meaning in the text through analysing the text as a story with narrative features. It is concerned with i??mimesisi??.2? Mimetic narrative (transcends history, according to Aristotle,) is a i??rediscription of reality, the creation of a literary world or a textual world that reaches beyond itself and beyond its historical milieui?? (Tate, 76) Narratology is the study of narrative dynamics and associated with narrative criticism.
? Narrative criticism involves interrogating the text with four essential story questions:Where? When? Who? What? How?
? The insights to these questions will assist in gaining insight into the most important question to which the others lead: Why? Why did the author write this narrative? What was the purpose or intention behind the story? The Fundamental Questions asked of the Story Where? (Related to setting)? Setting: physical background of the narrative. Where is the scene, story,saying, teaching, event set?When? (Related to time & narrative time)? Recit actual order of events as plotted in the story.? Historie Sequence as actually occurred and discerned from the story
? Narration Act of telling the story.
? Order: Order of time in the narrative (anticipates, flashbacks, reviewsi??)
? Duration: Way in which episodes are used to engage the reader (eg: episodes that are expanded, summarized or quickly passed over)? Frequency: looks to how an episode is related to the overall narrative Who? (Related to characters)? Author Real: actual historical writer
Implied: the readeri??s mental picture of the author determined from the narrative
? Audience (Reader or auditor)Real: actual, historical audience addressed by story or actual person reading the story.
Implied: the pictured reader or audience communicated through the story and determined from the narrative
? Narrator: voice of the writer telling the story
? Narratee: audience addressed by the story
? Characters: the cast that populates the story, defined by what they say and do.
o Full-fledged: multi-dimentional, complex, fully engaging the reader at variety of levels.
o Flat: single aspect: could be agent (functionary).
? Characteristics of characters: their description, interiority, words, deeds,contrast with others.
? Narrative Point of view: who knows what? How is this communicated?
Does the reader know more than the characters (i??reader-elevatedi??)? Or do the characters know more than the reader (i??character-elevatedi??)? What? (Related to story and its characteristics)
? Story: confluence of characters, events, plot and setting ? The key point of the story?
? Symbolism: At one level something is spoken or identified, or an event unfolds, but the narrator is referring the addressee to another level of meaning.
? Irony: Usually for reasons of emphasis or humour, the narrator expresses something in language that means something opposite; an event,
conversation or state of affairs that is the opposite or contrary to what appears to be; a literary technique used by the narrator (and therefore the
implied author) that the audience understands by the narrativei??s characters do not.
? Misunderstanding: The narrator describes an action, speech or event, but
the narratee (or audience) misses the point.
How? (Related to narrative dynamics)
? Plot: Storyi??s action, with beginning, middle and conclusion. What emerges
from the conflict between forces and characters Has conflict, complication
and resolution (denouement)o i??Gaps of indeterminancyi?? absence of narrative information inviting
the reader to engage the text and supply the information, or assess 4 and awaite further developments (Tate, 81). This generates suspense, surprise and curiosity.? Style: Repetition of words, motifs, key phrases or sentences, themes,literary structures, patterns i?? use of the chiasm, i??typei?? scenes, quotations.? Genre: narrative, poetry, prophecy o Poetry: sub-genre, situation, theme, structure, unity, texture (literary devices & figures)