Chapter two of Reading the Bible as Literature, is named Image, Metaphor, Symbol, and Archetype: A Way of Meaning. This book is written by Jeanie C. Crain. During this review, the items to be discussed will include a summary of the chapter, an overview of the contents of the chapter, and then on to the evaluation of the chapter.
The purpose of this chapter is to show the readers what some of the symbols in the Bible are used for. Some of these symbols include some of the major symbols and images in the Bible like fire, water, and light. Along with those, there are other not so big symbols that the author discusses in this chapter including metaphors. Some metaphors mentioned are the metaphor of husband and wife and father and child.
The audience of this chapter includes people who are trying to look at the Bible as literature. These people are trying to further their knowledge of the Bible by looking at it in a different way than literal. This could also include English teachers and students. It would be interesting for them to read this chapter because they can apply what they learn about the Bible as literature.
Chapter three starts off with some preliminary considerations. This explains some things that are vital to know before really digging into the chapter. This explains things like what an image is and what a symbol is. A big thing that is focused on in this chapter is comparing the Bible as being read literally and metaphorically. Both of these bring completely different meanings and therefore by Dr. Crain focusing on the metaphorical sense, it brings a lot of discussion topics.
The first big symbol that the chapter talks about is light, darkness and fire. These three are three of the most important symbols found throughout the Bible. This is true because it is found so often throughout the Bible. Light shows up throughout the Bible almost 200 times. If you thought that was a lot of times to be mentioned, water is seen over 600 times.
The chapter then goes on to talk about the five metaphors of divine-human relationship. The five metaphors are the metaphor of king and subject, the metaphor of judge and litigant, the metaphor of husband and wife, the metaphor of father and child and the last is the metaphor of master and servant. All of these sections explain these metaphors and some places where they are found in the Bible.
The next section is about archetypal encounters of the divine and human. This goes on to talk about the things that happened at Mount Horeb/Sinai, and the Mount of the Skull. Throughout this reading and doing the exercises and questions I have learned that mountains are another important symbol found throughout the Bible. This includes Noah’s ark as well as the ones mentioned in the chapter. Yet again, we are seeing symbols being important to understand what is going on in the Bible.
My reaction to this chapter the first time I went through it and was skimming before I started reading was, wow this is overwhelming. There is a lot of information that is talked about in this chapter and it is deep information. It is not information that you can just read and understand. Learning about symbols and their meanings takes focus and understanding of other things going on in the passages that you are reading. After doing some skimming, I took a deep breath and was ready to tackle the chapter.
The chapter did a great job at achieving its goal of discussing the metaphors and symbols found throughout the Bible. It is tough information to cover, especially over the whole Bible. There are so many symbols and different meanings per symbol that it is quite a lot to talk about. The author does a great job at tackling this challenge.
The possibilities that are suggested by this chapter include ones that have the reader look into the verses more. These possibilities are found at the end of the chapter in the exercises and questions. These really take the step further that the readers can do on their own time by doing these. They really pose questions that are to extend the knowledge of the reader.
The chapter has not left much out. I do think that some of the sections are a bit long. I understand that there is a lot of information to cover, but at times it is overwhelming to be reading information that takes so much mental effort and concentration and have the sections be really long.
I cannot speak on how this chapter compares to others on the subject because I have not read other chapters on this topic. I can say that the book has done a good job of being consistent on chapters by continuously formatting the chapters the same and always putting the questions and exercises at the end of the chapter. The reader always knows what to expect when moving on to another chapter.
I do not have any personal experience relating things like this. I do have personal experience talking about symbols in literature, but relating it to the Bible is new to me. Although this is a new experience to me, I have taken the challenge and really tried to further my knowledge.
Overall, chapter three has done a great job and I am impressed by the way the intricate information is covered in such an organized way. I have reviewed the chapter and the audience, and I then went on to evaluate what I thought of the chapter.