21 October, 2012
Reading the Bible as Literature. Jeanie C. Crain. Cambridge UK: Polity, 2010, [1-213]
Chapter 5 Review
This chapter in Reading the Bible as Literature took the genres that were discussed in the previous chapter and broke them down into sub-genres. This chapter took everything we’ve been learning from the text thus far and takes it even more in-depth with the concept of sub-genres. I think this chapter flowed very well and was a great transition from genres to the more in-depth topic of sub-genres
First the chapter looked at some familiar sub-genres, like song. Several chapters in the Bible were actually written as song lyrics and have a very musical feel to them when you read them. Even if a biblical passage isn’t written as a song, many refer to songs or command people to sing. The next sub-genre discussed is allegory. An allegory is a continuation of a metaphor. The Bible uses allegories and metaphors to communicate abstract and spiritual things in a very real and concrete way so that the reader is able to understand the symbolism. After that, Dr. Crain moves on to explaining the sub-genre of parables. A parable uses a fictional story to illustrate a point or convey a message. Parables are most commonly associated with the teachings of Jesus since He often used them in His messages. The last sub-genre discussed is that of prayer. It seems strange to think of prayer as a sub-genre but as we look forward it really is. Prayer is a unique conversation between man and God. The Bible is full of prayers, and Jesus even demonstrates how we should pray with “The Lord’s Prayer.”
I liked how this chapter expanded on the previous chapter and broke down the concept of genres even further. However, I felt like I learned less, personally, from this chapter than other ones. I read the Bible on a regular basis and have grown up with it and in church so I feel like I already had a good understanding of the concepts of prayer, parable, song, and poetry and how they are used throughout the Bible. Not only that but I feel like those concepts are easier to spot than some of the topics discussed in previous chapters. I did however really enjoy the conversations I had with my classmates over the colloquia work. I always like to see how my peers interpreted the chapter and their thoughts on the questions and exercises. This week I felt the responses were great and I always learn a lot from other students.
Overall, I liked the chapter and the way it expanded on the previous chapters. Because of prior background knowledge I don’t feel like I learned as much this week as I have previously but I did still learn. However, the material in this chapter did serve to enhance my previous knowledge and expand on that. I was able to read several more examples of poetry, song, prayer, and allegory throughout the Bible and I always enjoy that. This chapter took everything we’ve learned thus far and extended those concepts even further. As I read this textbook I find that it is written in a way that each chapter teaches a new concept but builds on the concepts discussed in the previous chapters, which makes the material easier to understand and enjoy.