Throughout this literature review, the items to be discussed include the contents of the first chapter of this book. The book is Reading the Bible as Literature. The author of this book is Jeanie C. Crain. The review will start by giving some background information that will help the reader of this review to know the context and what will be judged for the chapter. The background information will help the reader to understand where the review is coming from when making judgments. The next part of this chapter review will include a summary of the main points throughout the chapter. During this time, definitions will be given to further the reader’s knowledge of the judgments given. After giving a summary of the chapter, the reviewer will give the evaluation of the chapter. In this section, the reviewer will discuss different issues including how well the chapter has gotten to its goal, what the chapter has left out and so on.
The purpose of this book is to help people open their minds to different interpretations and approaches to the Bible. This being said, that includes looking at the Bible as a piece of literature as well. Many times the Bible gets interpreted in different religious views and people don’t look at it as a piece of literature. The audience for this book could include students studying religion or literature. It also could include anyone interested in furthering their beliefs and knowledge about religion and the Bible.
Some background information will be provided in this paragraph for the reader’s better understanding of why the reviewer is making the judgments that are being made. This book was written in order to help readers better understand how to read the Bible as a piece of literature. The author explains in detail different points as to how the Bible can be interpreted. The author mainly focuses on how scholars can look at the Bible as a piece of literature. This includes looking at the Bible through theme, character and etc.
Chapter one is called Reading the Bible as Literature: A Way of Understanding. The author starts off by introducing the book and talking a little bit about what the book will include. Literary is explained as “a special use of language that intensifies and transforms it from ordinary use” (pg 1). The first section of the chapter is Preliminary Considerations. In this section, the author starts off by giving off many definitions. The definitions include Bible, canons, deuterocanonical and apocryphal books and more. The author explains that throughout the book the Old and New Testament will be talked about. An important part to this part of the chapter explains that Old and new are not being used to say that the Christian faith has been superseded (pg 3).
The form is talked about next. The form has changed over time how the Bible is today. The Bible today is not like the Bible was when it was originally written. The next subsection talks about translations. The author talks about how translations differ and the different translations affect what the meaning is to the translation. “Allusion is a practice of echoing or referring to other works; alliteration is repetition of initial consonant sound” (pg 5). These are two elements that are devices used in literature pieces and can be looked at in the Bible as well.
The next section is titled Reading the Bible as Literature. This is where the main part of the chapter is focused. Seeing as the book has the same title, it is an important part of this book. This section explains why it is good to study the Bible as literature. A few of the points the author brings up are appeal and readership, a literary approach, intertextuality, allusion and typology. There are more including prophecy, macro-plots, language and so on. To sum it all up, there are many reasons to study the Bible as literature.
The next section talks about approaches taken in textbooks for teaching the Bible as literature. The approaches have changed over the centuries. None the less, it is very relevant now in classes and studies all over the United States. The way that the teachers go about teaching the Bible as literature depends a lot on the teachers view. According to Reading the Bible as Literature, “three general approaches being taken: the literature of the Bible, the bible in literature, and the Bible as literature” (pg 13).
The next section is Traditions in Biblical Interpretation. This section talks about biblical criticism. This is a term that explains the study and looking into biblical writings. The section goes on and talks about what the tradition has seen in the past including criticism. Another term explained is narrative criticism. This term “insists on close reading and looks at the particular way a story is told in relation to complex literary structures such as plot, characterizations, and closure” (pg 17). The end of this section explains what type of understanding the literary approach can provide.
The next section is named culture and religion in ancient Israel and the Jewish World view. This is the last section of this chapter and it brings up the question of the people, the world they lived in and the history behind the people in this book. This section goes through some of the history of the people of the Bible and the books that are in the Bible.
The rest of this paper will be spent taking time to review the chapter and what it has to offer, or should add. To start off, the chapter does a great job of achieving the goal of introducing the reader to the book as a whole. Included in this introduction is an explanation of why they should be spending their time studying not only this topic but studying this topic with this particular book. Not only does this chapter provide the reader with reasons as to why they should continue reading but it also provides history and different approaches that are used besides the authors.
There are endless possibilities suggest by this chapter. One possibility is the different ways to approach the bible. The author provides the reader with many ways that have been used in the past and are still being used today to approach the Bible. These approaches really give the reader a broad spectrum and an open mind to start this book. Another possibility that this book has provided is to take the information and apply it. At the end of the chapter, the author provides a wide range of exercises and questions. Along with these, the author gives the reader a website with more information to add to the chapter and the readers understanding. These possibilities are a great reason to read this book. This is because the reader can really expand their knowledge with what the author has given.
For me personally, I have not had much experience with reading the Bible as literature. Although I am new to this topic of study, the author really provided information for all ranges of experiences with this topic. I have had experience reading other literature in my studies. Along with that, I have seen examples of the Bible in different literatures but I have never looked at it the way that the author is suggesting in this first chapter and the rest of the book.
Overall, the first chapter of the book Reading the Bible as Literature, provided information to the readers to get them started in this topic. The author provides in depth details about definitions for terms that will be used throughout the book. Also, the author gives the reader background information including history and information about the people of the time of the Bible. There is information on different approaches used and the author tells which approach will be used throughout this book. For the purpose of this review, this book has done a great job of providing the right information for the introduction. On top of that, the author gives so many opportunities to the reader which is a great reason to continue reading.