Chapter four of Reading the Bible as Literature, written by Jeanie C. Crain, is called Major Genres: A Way of Seeing. This chapter includes information about genres that are found in the Bible and the way that you can read and understand them. There will be background information that will help the reader of this review understand what is going on. The contents of the book will be included along with the audience and purpose for this chapter. There will then be an evaluation and reaction to this chapter as a whole.
This chapter focuses on genres that are found throughout the Bible. These genres include poetry, drama and stories with structured plot, just to name a few. At the end of the chapter, there are questions and exercises in order to expand the reader’s opportunities to learn and explore what was talked about in the chapter. The purpose of this chapter is to get readers to take what they have learned in the first few chapters and dig into those concepts deeper. The author looks at some of the things previously talked about and digs deeper into them and asks the reader to do the same. 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. The audience for this chapter needs to be dedicated to looking into the Bible and verses in the Bible to see what the author is talking about.
Chapter four, Major Genres: A Way of Seeing, starts off with preliminary considerations. In this section, the author briefs the reader to understand some things that are going to happen in this chapter. In this section, the author defines terms like genre and form criticism. The next section is called Major Genres and Related Definitions. This section is a good section to provide background information for the reader. The terms defined in this section are vital to know before really reading further into the chapter. Some terms defined in this section include fiction, plot, narrator and many others. The last part of this first section is called Genre Criticism. One part that was important in this section is “The argument can be made that genre will be affected by the one making the grouping and that types cannot be clearly distinguished one from another, since they may overlap and become mixed” (pg 68). This section really focuses on some of the criticism that genre.
The next major section is Narrative. This section focuses on key elements that are in selections from the Bible. Stories with Structed Plot is the first sub point in this section of Narrative. In this section the author explains short stories from the Bible that can be applied to literary terms like protagonist and resolution. Linking Episodes is the next section that talks about more stories found in the Bible. In this section, the stories that are talked about are stories that are linked. For example, in Jeremiah, a reader will find a link to the Elisha story.
The next section is talking about how some episodes in the New Testament are linked to the Old Testament. This is just like the last section but it takes stories from the New Testament and shows how they are linked to the Old Testament. One example is the temptation story and the link to Moses’ years in Midian. The next two sections are Genesis and Genre. Just as said in their title, they talk about the book Genesis and then it goes on to talk about Genre. The Genre section is very important considering the title of the chapter. In this section there are terms defined. The section talks about myth versus legend versus historical fact. This is an important part because it is a highly debated topic as to which one to look at the Bible as.
Stories is the name of the next section, and this is a section that goes into depth about many literary devices. It talks about the five parts that a story normally contains. These five parts are exposition, complication, crisis, falling action and resolution. These five parts make up more stories, including those in the Bible. Groups of Stories and Cycles and the Marco-Plot are the next two sections. These two continue to talk about genres in different stories and how they are grouped together. The last major point is Drama and Poetry. This section, as it is called, looks at poetry and drama in the Bible. Some terms defined in this section include aphorisms, theophany and monologues. The chapter ends with the Close Reading that includes exercises and questions to expand the reader’s knowledge and mind.
The chapter has achieved its goal very well. The chapter starts by introducing things that the reader will need to know in order to understand the most important concepts of the chapter. This is an important part of any chapter, especially complicated ones like this because it helps the reader to know a little bit before diving in. The chapter then splits the sections up according to categories and it is organized very well. The end wraps up with some conclusions and questions which achieves the chapter’s goal of teaching the reader because it forces the reader to look up some examples and see how they relate.
There are many possibilities suggested by the chapter. Most of these possibilities are found in the end of the chapter in the form of questions and exercises. These do a great job of having the information that was covered in the chapter expanded. The expanded information really lets the reader explore some of what they read about in the chapter. Not only does the reader get to explore it but really take it further. This is important when talking about the Bible because it is hard to grasp when just doing reading. It is much easier to understand once you have looked at examples throughout the Bible on your own.
The chapter has not left anything significant out. The only thing that could possibly have been added is that when the author is talking about an example, adding the actual example to the part of the book so that while the reader is engaged in the chapter, they won’t have to pull out their Bible for reference. This could help the reader get through the chapter without having to stop and lose focus on the chapter itself. All of the points in the chapter are convincing, especially when the author provides such clear examples from the Bible.
The only personal experience I have had with the material in this chapter is the literary devices. I have seen these devices in English classes before but have never applied it to the Bible. It is interesting seeing how it is applied to the Bible and how it affects my perspective when reading and thinking about the Bible.
Overall, this was a great chapter in Reading the Bible as Literature. The author does a great job explaining the points made and accompanying them with definitions and examples to help the reader understand. There is a clear audience and purpose of this chapter in relation to the book. On top of all of those great things about the chapter, the author provides an outlet for readers to expand what they just read throughout the chapter.