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Useful for our final papers! Notes on all module lectures 2-7; including notes on a supplemental article chosen from Critical Methods module.
The Bible as Literature
W. Tracy Dillon
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Date Created: 03/02/16
MODULE 02: BIBLICAL NARRATIVE AND NARRATOLOGY Reading Satire in Biblical Stories Storytelling -most ancient and ongoing method of conveying cultural teachings -serves ontological end of equipping beings “to understand and articulate life, to make creation conscious of itself” David A. Leeming -ontology: the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being -storytellers -shanachies in Celtic world -scops in Anglo Saxon -troubadours/minstrels in western Europe -griots in West Africa -hakawits among Arabs -rhapsodes in ancient Greece -improve understanding by “building bridges of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual connection” Melissa Heckler and Carol Birch Genesis theory of Creation -biblical storytelling originates in oral storytelling -pass cultural history and tradition by generation -biblical storytelling is always subject to redaction highfalutin theory: pompous or pretentious Narrative vs. Narratology -Narrative (narrative theory and the unity of time) -focus on storytelling that presents related events in sequential, linear order -Poetica, Aristotle, all stories having a beginning, a middle, and an end -narrative interpretations consider events as they unfold in the typical EuroWestern epistemological take on time -emphasis on linear time -three unities of time, place, and action (classical greek) -Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex (takes place of a moment of 60 min) -did not like jumping through space and time -Narratology -theories about our ways of reading derived from structuralist and poststructural criticism -grounded on Aristotle (a habitual critical habit) -interested in narrative experience’s effects on reader perceptions than on the elements of story -consideration of how the story is told, -who’s telling it, -whether the narrator is trustworthy, -how the narrative might play with or bend sequential time, -how it reveals cultural systems, -discourse structures -phenomenology (the science of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being) of a reader response -Biblical Narratology -ROBERT ALTER, The Art of Biblical Narrative: “anyone concerned with the Bible, whether out of cultural or religious motives, and also to students of narrative.” -DAVID H RICHTER; “the term ‘biblical narratology’ is an oxymoron.” -concept of the inevitable ‘if’ -biblical AUTHORS who employ literary devices and observe humor and irony -satire -concept of the untrustworthy narrator -Pericopes; what “biblical scholars call the chunks of text that can be extracted for study or for preaching” in lieu of traditionally identifiable discourse structures, like lyric poetry or epic narrative -chunks of stories out of contexts to isolate moral and ideological points -hunt for example used to illustrate a preconceived notion -incomplete readings, omits structure and complexities of the story in favor of single element -classical unities of time, place, and action -derived from ancient concept of unity: that a text needs to be swallowed structurally, from beginning to end -ALTER: ‘literary art’: “in most cases the minute choice of words and reported details, the pace of narration, the small movements of dialogue, and a whole network of ramified interconnections in the text” -PERICOPE AS ASSOCIATION BY ICONIC IMAGERY -icon; image that symbolically represents an idea -’Stations of the Cross’ 14/15 corresponding to the events on the day of the crucifixion of Jesus; condemnation…..resurrection. Corresponding prayer triggered by icon -each icon triggers the idea addressed by a prescribed prayer -TOP 10 ICONOGRAPHIC IMAGES 1. Conversion of St. Paul 2. David and Goliath 3. Susanna and the Elders 4. the Crucifixion 5. Vision of St. Jerome 6. Annunciation 7. Assumption of the Virgin 8. Adoration of the Shepherds 9. Samson and Delilah 10. Lamentation of Christ (la pieta) -a pericope would take (one of the above) iconic part of the overall story out of its context in order to illustrate a particular scholarly biblical interpretation -TENDENTIOUS PURPOSES Milton & Freud on Moses a. Mary Ann Radzinowicz -pericopes fashion the phenomenon of textual appropriation: how the same icon of pericope can be used for differing agendas. Biblical Narrative and the Genre of Satire Genre -category of literature that shares similar techniques and themes, like ‘epic;’ samples all the other genres leading up to it. -SIR PHILIP SIDNEY, coined the epic as ‘heroic’ -heroic -lyric -tragic -comic -satiric -iambic -elegiac -pastoral -Bible contains pastoral imagers (The Lord is my shepherd...He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters Psalm 23), elegiac or lamentations on a beloved’s death (How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thy high places) [reminiscent of the Iliad? Death of Patroklos], iambic (Awake, awake; put on thy strength), satire and its related trope irony … -Genre of Satire -how narratological readings seek to contribute to scholarly debate over biblical interpretations -RICHTER: Jonah as a ‘satiric send up’ of prophets, not the story of a tender-hearted prophet too kind to deliver God’s words of wrath to the people… -God calls Jonah to prophesy against Nineveh as punishment for its wickedness -Jonah sails in opposite direction, is thrown overboard, swallowed by big fish -Big fish releases Jonah and God redirects him to Nineveh -TYPICALLY interpreted as a tale of a reluctant prophet and presented as a caution against failing to heed God’s call, because, in the end, you’re going to do what He says anyway, and, after all, He’s got your back, and has had all God’s children’s backs, all along. -most commentators who wield the story of Jonah, stop where the story is only three quarters finished ‘even if the task seems too hard, don’t hesitate to do as God asks, the lesson goes, or the people will suffer because of your weakness -Jesus identifies with Jonah as a messianic antetype -Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” -RICHTER wants us to read the WHOLE story - by doing so, we can more easily recognize that Jonah’s story serves to satirize the greed of a prophet-for-hire -If you’re good at your fob and warn the people, and the people listen, and the disaster you warned about doesn’t happen, they might think you’re a false prophet precisely because the disaster you warned about never happened (2 Kings 14) -MEIR STERNBERG: The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, Jonah’s operation depends upon our jumping to exactly the wrong conclusion, we assume that Jonah is too tender-hearted...Jonah’s self-sacrificial willingness to be thrown overboard for their sake feeds this misunderstanding of his character...participants are suddenly transformed but they are suddenly recognized for what they always have been.. the story moves generically from a ‘punitive affair between God and Nineveh’ to ‘a story of a prophet’s education’ -in contrast to the mercy of God, is Jonah’s narcissistic ruthlessness...Jonah raises none of the ’usual’ theological and moral issues of the prophetic books, like Israel's infidelity to God or their exploitation of their fellow humans -only the prophecy Jonah utters, takes up exactly five Hebrew words, Jonah is not a prophetic book at all but an anti prophetic book, a satire on bloodthirsty prophets:”Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed” -RICHTER: I think the world has a great deal to gain from the notion that some biblical narratives that have been absorbed into the Deuteronomistic ‘sacred history’ that runs from Joshua to 2 Kings may at some point have been designed to be read as fictions...we should be willing to assume that textual juxtapositions that generate suspicious reading today might well have done so in the intended authorial audience of historical texts. Satire -typically is intended to humble a person, institution, or authority that has, in the satirist’s mind, allowed self-weening pride to get out of control, usually with dire consequence. -SAMSON AND DELILAH (love is blind, Samson becomes blind..&ec) NORTHRUP FRYE: Anatomy of Criticism, -essential to satire….is an object of Attack [and] wit or humor founded on fantasy or a sense of the grotesque or absurd. THOMAS JEMIELITY: cites Ezekiel 16 -the longest single unit in the prophecy and one so offensive it is not used in public Jewish worship, satirize Israel’s falling away from Yahweh in hyperbolically sexual terms and, in JEMIELITY’S judgement rivals ‘anything in swift or in juvenal for the violent pleasure it registers in successful and obscene scorn -ancient biblical satire; Genesis, Amos, 1 Samuel, Job, Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea -satire in NT; Matthew 22&3, Book of Revelation “John does not imitate the Roman imperial system so much as he makes a burlesque of it, a parody, a radical inversion of roles and power -when satire is employed to question the status quo- that is, the cultural norms themselves that people use to judge human behavior- satire moves toward prophecy FRYE: “quixotic satire” -MIGUEL DE CERVANTES’ epic hero Don Quixote ‘tilting at windmills’ restore Spanish culture to a golden age -Quixote satire challenges the source, the bases, the values of the conventions themselves, ridicules the systems or theories, and points out their inadequacy” JEMIELITY cites Ecclesiastes and Job “the finest examples in Scripture of this continuing challenge to the optimism of systematic explanation” -complex literary device that makes use of related tropes like irony, parody, comedy, and sarcasm “Why is the Bible more Entertaining & Instructive than any other book?” William Blake MODULE 03: BIBLICAL POETRY “Thus began Priesthood; Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales” William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell The Art of Biblical Poetry - Robert Alter -The Art of Biblical Narrative Biblical Poetry vs. Biblical Narrative -poetry -heightened use of language -ideas and feelings worthy of intense expression and reflection -narrative prose is “words in their best order,” while poetry is “the best words in the best order” Samuel Taylor Coleridge -”In ancient times poets and theologians were held to e the same people,” according to Desiderius Erasmus, because poetry is the pathway to knowledge -”poetry was the first philosophy that was ever known: whereby men from their childhood were brought to the reason how to live well” Sir Thomas Elyot -”poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings and emotion recollected in tranquility” William Wordsworth -”Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive, and widely effective mode of saying things, and hence it's importance, poetry is, at bottom, a criticism of life” Matthew Arnold -”poetry’s task is to reconcile us to the world - not to accept it at face value or to assent to things that are wrong, but to reconcile one in a larger sense, to return us in love, the province of the imagination, to the scope of our mortal lives” Meena Alexander -”If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry” Emily Dickinson -poets, according to the circumstances of the age and nation in which they appeared, were called, in the earlier epochs of the world, legislators, or prophets’ a poet essentially comprises and unites both these characters, poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Percy Bysshe Shelley 1. tends to stress the didactic function of poetry along with it's pleasing effects 2. moves the reader to recognize and follow it's teachings by appealing to feelings and emotion 3. poetry derives historically from ancient origins in theology and prophecy -”among the Romans a poet was called vates, which is as much as a diviner, foreseer, or heavenly a title that did that excellent people bestow upon this heart-ravishing knowledge” Sir Philip Sidney -”Poetry so powerful that it was thought to command spirits, both in antiquity and excellency, were they that did imitate the unconceivable excellencies of God. Such were David in his Psalms, Solomon in his Song of Songs, in his Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs; Moses and Deborah in their Hymns, and the writer of Job.” -Emanuel Tremellius and Franciscus Junius “the poetical part of the Scripture” -Psalms, -Song of Songs (Ecclesiastes 12:2-8), -Proverbs, the Hymn of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43), -Hymn of Deborah (Judges 5) -classified by ALTER as prophetic poetry, wisdom poetry, and love poetry -”St.Paul himself twice citeth poets [ACTS 17, TITUS 1] and one of them by name of ‘their prophet’” DISCUSSION QUESTION: prophetic poetry, wisdom poetry, love poetry Alter “the poetic medium made it possible to articulate the emotional freight, the moral consequences, the altered perception of the world. Poetry often became an instrument for expressing in a collective voice a distinctive, sometimes radically new, sense of time, space, history, creation, and the character of individual destiny. The choice to use poetry generated powers of signification that pressed beyond the immediate occasion, and the imaginative authority with which history was turned into a theater of timeless hopes and fears explains why these poems still address us so powerfully today.” -PARALLELISM, parallel structure, universal feature of most discourse systems. Involves replicating certain grammatical patterns in a phrase, sentence, or poem. -Isaiah 59:9-10 judgement/justice, far from/overtake, light/obscurity, brightness/darkness “Therefore is judgement far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.” “We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.” -A STRUCTURE OF INTENSIFICATION, the relation between parallel verses involves not consequentiality but some sort of heightening, not by any surface impulse of narration but rather by a steady progression of image or theme, a sort of mounting semantic pressure -Psalm 13 repetition of wording and exaltations “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” -METAPHORICAL USAGES, poet compares one thing or another to imitate a fundamental transformation of states of being. The substitution of a specific image for an abstract concept or it can employ kennings or riddles to challenge the audience’s understanding ‘dynamic parallelism’ -Joel 1:5 -Ezekiel 15-17 -Jeremiah 48:11 Moab and wine “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity; therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.” -POETIC PROPHECY AND PROPHETIC POETRY, use of prose for oracular visions or visions of future events’ and for dramatic situation where God speaks to the prophet only or as opposed to God’s speaking to the people through the prophet -God speak poetry when speaking (through prophets) to non-prophets! -lift the utterances to a second power of signification, aligning statements that are addressed to a concrete historical situation with an archetypal horizon -elevating the matter to universal and enduring application as the weapon of choice for matters of the imagination, BIBLICAL POETRY POINTS THE MIND’S EYE TOWARD THE ETERNAL -NEW TESTAMENT POETRY? Alter and Bloom, dismissive of literary merit in NT and restrict analyses to Tanakh. Bloom “no one who has read the HB and the GNT closely and has any skill or experience as a literary critic will find much affinity between the two works” -Jesus intertextualizes the Book of Job in Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” -a heightened meaning associated with the presentation of the words, NT writers also depend on their Tanakh precursors by intertextualization H poetic structures -NT POETRY QUALIFIES AS POETRY ONLY WHEN IT INTERTEXTUALIZES TANAKH’S SEMANTIC STRUCTURES. Intertextuality Analytics 1. Analyze passages that the NT authors explicitly call “psalms, hymns, and prayers” 2. Look for ‘what makes these passages poetic’ Research the rules that govern Semitic poetic structures. Study the original language 3. Recognize how translation across cultures and languages over time have changed poetic structures. ‘not to simply understand their poetis or to theorize about the source material but to appreciate how the poetry challenges the territory of language itself’ MODULE 04: BIBLICAL INTERTEXTUALITY Biblical Intertextuality 1. Intertextuality: the phenomenological study of how the mind elides texts, arises from philosophical study of the mind’s associative powers. a. John Locke, David Hume, Etienne Bonnot de Condillac; sliced workings of mind up into various compartmentalized operations i. reason, imagination, fancy, &ec ii. followers of Aristotle iii. theory of the associative powers of mind; ground for literary theories of reader response and intertextuality 1. the mind incessantly processes what it senses in terms of comparison and contrast, of seeing one thing and thinking ‘it's like this other thing’ or ‘it's not like that other thing’ 2. Biblical Intertextuality; the operating principle of Tanakh and the New Testament is intertextuality a. the ‘intertext’ b. Jay Clayton and Eric Rothstein i. distinguish ‘influence’ and ‘intertextuality’ ii. Harold Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence 1. discusses poetic influence in terms of ‘ephebes’ and ‘strong poets’ 2. ‘ephebes;’ up and coming poets who are doing everything they can to be original and become famous/ sit at the feet of the great masters, trying to achieve the same level of success 3. ‘precursors;’ strong poets who came before ephebes, and with whom a current ephebe poet identifies: mentors, who teach the craft down through the ages, even though they can be dead 3. Ephebes and Precursors; STAR WARS EDITION a. Precursor Yoda: Geoffrey Chaucer; dead well more than 200 years by the time he instructed Milton, and more than 400 years by the time he instructed Wordsworth b. Immediate Precursor Obi-wan: John Milton; dead more than 200 years by the time Wordsworth was coming into his own c. Ephebe Luke: William Wordsworth d. All-stars of the Euro-western league: Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Virgil, Hebrew Prophets, Homer i. constitute a tradition, and in some way exert influence on all contemporary literary writing through the establishment of poetic conventions like genres, topoi, and tropes ii. EX) Dante’s Divine Comedy; ‘The Procession of the Mystic Elders’ Gustav Dore 1. Virgil leading Dante in the front of the pack. Virgil is Dante’s immediate precursor, the poet he looks to as his hero; Dante is Virgil’s ephebe, the poet whose spirit most influences and thus guides Dante 2. are nearest to the ‘now’ in which Dante was writing a. behind them stretching back through time, are the precursors: the poets and Hebrew prophets of classical antiquity iii. literary tradition that gives rise to a canon of works representing the all- star greatest hits of the Euro-western literary game 4. ALL STARS a. Ancient Greece’s Father of Poetry, Homer (800 BCE) i. loadstar for the epic tradition ii. roughly three millennia later, the Cohen brothers intertextualized his Odyssey into O Brother, Where Art Thou? b. The Nevi’im, or the Hebrew Prophets (740-586 BCE) i. Babylonian Exile ii. Ezekiel c. Plato (427-347 BCE) i. philosophical and literary tradition contends that Western civilization is pretty much a series of footnotes to Plato ii. relationships between physical matter and transcendent realms ‘Platonic Ideals” iii. poets are all basically crazy, are liars, and should be kicked out of any perfect society d. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) i. one of Plato’s students, together their views are contrasted in those ‘footnotes’ ^^ ii. associating Platonic though with ‘a ghostly paradigm’ while calling Aristotle ‘soldier’ by contrast William Butler Yeats iii. simple discussion of story as ‘a beginning, a middle, and an end’ narratology e. Virgil (d. 19 BCE) i. transitional figure joining ‘classical’ Greco-Roman worldviews to Christian worldviews that supplanted them in the post-’Before the Common Era’ era ii. death presumably occurred 19 years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth 1. so said his Renaissance and Enlightenment admirers, Virgil actually prophesied the advent of Christianity iii. most known for The Aeneid, chronicles the founding of the Roman empire 1. thus comparable to Homer’s epics on the origin of Greek civilization f. Dante Alighieri (1265-1321 CE) i. The Inferno 1. part one of a three-parter including; The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso 2. part of Dante’s seminal work of Italian Renaissance literature; The Divine Comedy ii. led by precursor, Virgil, Virgil remains the uber-poet of Classical Roman- Italian-Angelo-Euro Western tradition over his ephebe g. Francis Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) (1304-1374 CE) i. Father of Humanism 1. Renaissance Humanism supposedly developed as our species started looking inward and feeling ‘exceptional,’ illustrating for some a selfish turning away from a focus on God or the divine a. ‘man’ thought he was exceptional precisely because he was a microcosm of God b. ‘man’ began an atheistic slide by seeking to know human nature and nature/the natural order scientifically ii. Petrarch’s Laura h. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375 CE) i. considered important partially because he represents a transition between two contrasting worldviews 1. the bridge between medieval thought and Humanism ii. Genealogy of the Gods; theory of poetry i. Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) i. Father of English Literature 1. Canterbury Tales 2. Elizabethan poet laureate Edmund Spenser looked to Chaucer as the ‘wellhead’ of the English language ii. wrote own language, often the daily language of simple people, rather than in Classical Latin iii. single representative from England to stand in this august company j. Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) i. Orlando Furioso 1. main character is ‘Mad’ Orlando or ‘Frenzied’ Orlando 2. introduction of fantastic elements; heroes even take a trip to the moon; early foray into science fiction k. Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) i. Jerusalem Delivered 1. seminal western representations of a centuries old conflict that plagues our species to this day: the Crusade that sadly pits Christian against Muslim ii. Tasso exactly like Plato’s poet; insane, having been imprisoned by his patron in a madhouse for a good deal of his sorrowful later life l. ALL STARS shaped Renaissance and Jacobian literature i. Harold Bloom calls ‘visionary company’ 1. amplified his connection between the Romantics and biblical storytelling, observing in his appreciation of KVJ that ‘our literary sense of the Bible emerged from Romanticism and now seems inescapable’ 5. Intertextuality is a more psychological (phenomenological) way to examine the effects of literary culture than is it's cousin ‘influence’ a. Influence describes ‘relations built on dyads of transmission from one unity (author, work, tradition) to another; says Clayton and Rothstein i. concept of influence gets applied when the author is consciously using a former work to enhance their own b. intertextuality is tricky i. actually requires no intentionality on the part of the author. If a reader perceives an influence that a writer never intended, it’s still ‘intertextuality’ because the phenomenological experience of reading has, itself, taken center stage and trumps what writers might have intended c. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale i. imagines a post-apocalyptic America where fallout from nuclear war has made procreation a dicey affair 1. to propagate the species, the gov’t subjugates women and creates the role of ‘handmaids’ who are used to conceive children as surrogates for the upper class ii. derives from alternative sources including Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales 1. no handmaid tells a tale in Chaucer’s poem 2. loose influence at best, one triggered by specific intertextuality: repetition of the word ‘tale’ iii. informed discussions of influence base their entire reading on biblical parallels 1. David Jasper recognizes the origins of Atwood’s handmaids in the figure of Bilhah (Genesis 30:1-3) and the antecedent of Atwood’s fictional land of Gilead in Jeremiah 3:22 a. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale demands a considerable knowledge of the Bible for the reader fully to appreciate it’s dense allusions and connotations.’ 6. Intertextuality makes use of semantic parallelism a. a specific word of image that is recognizable trope from an influence b. Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, we can enhance the discussion of influence by analyzing the intertextuality of the word, ‘handmaid’ i. ‘Then Judith said unto him, Receive the words of thy servant, and suffer thine handmaid to speak in thy presence, and I will declare to lie to my lord this night’ (Judith 11:5-6) ii. association between Atwood’s protagonist, Offred, and the biblical hero Judith strengthens the notion of influence through the device of intertextuality, and the aggregation of multiple sources through intertextual associations 1. among Chaucer via ‘tale’ and Tanakh via ‘handmaid’ 2. enriches the literary resonance of Atwood’s contribution to the visionary company c. emphasis on Hannah in the books of Samuel, i. similar wordplay ‘and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid’ 1 Samuel 25:24; ‘Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak one word unto my lord the king’ (2 Samuel 14:12) ii. intertextuality between Hannah and Mary, mother of Jesus (Luke 1:38,46,48) 7. Author does not have to have a particular source in mind in order to intertextualize it a. canon- matrix of literary voices that speaks through the ages, does it independently, and the reader’s eyes and ears are the oracles through which the canon speaks i. reader who apprehends intertextual affinity between Chaucer and Atwood based on the trigger, ‘tale’ can leave it at that and still makes a valid contribution ii. reader who hunts down as many associations as can satisfy their intertextual appetite and then amalgamates them into a broader perspective beyond a one to one analogy will probably enjoy a more interesting scholarly experience iii. MODULE 05: CRITICAL APPROACHES Critical Approaches to the Bible as Literature “There is, of course, nothing new about re-telling the biblical narratives… Nor can we draw a clear distinction between theories of criticism and the creativity of each retelling: the Bible owes it's very origins to this endless intertextuality.” Stephen Prickett 1. Summary of the history of critical approaches to the Bible as Literature a. Bible AS Literature i. suggestion that the Scripture contains fiction ii. slippery slope: notion that if the holy Scripture contains fiction, then the Scripture is fiction iii. sophisticated mastery of literary conventions and editorial processes 1. Ecclesiastes 12:9-10 iv. NT recognizes it's status as ‘a book’ capable of rewrites and revisions and even warns against editorial redaction 1. Revelation 22:18-19 v. biblical writers no problem with notion that they were writing literature 1. Scripture should be read as literature? 2. establishment of schism between Bible as conceived and classical Greek and Roman literature 3. favored Bible as Literature’s simplicity over what was considered overwrought classical style and subject, and judged biblical renditions of lyrics and songs and other literary forms as superior in quality to classical counterparts. a. ironically begged question of Bible as Literature by making comparisons 4. comparative grounds of investigation: Jerome and Augustine b. Renaissance precedent of treating BAL by reviewing Sir Philip Sidney’s seminal manifesto on poetry i. dominated throughout the seventeenth c 1. John Milton, The Reason of Church and Government; repeats argument that biblical songs excel “over all kinds of lyric the very critical art of composition” while explicitly categorizing the Bible as an arrangement of various genres including pastoral, tragedy, odes, hymns c. BAL and Romanticism i. reopens the great divide between secular and sacred approaches to Scripture that those dusty old Church Fathers liked to poke their sticks into 1. Augustine’s Confessions undone by W.Wordsworth The Prelude a. ironic change since Wordsworth usually considered Augustine’s ephebe 2. predictable trajectory of religious indeterminacy ii. Romantic movement of the 19th c viewed the Bible as secular (not sacred) literature by subtracting religious faith from reading iii. HAROLD BLOOM “Our literary sense of the Bible emerged from Romanticism and now seems inescapable, however haunted by nostalgias. Carlyle and Emerson, Ruskin and Pater, DH Lawrence and Wallace Stevens all echo the KVJ ...but do so as skeptics [...] their biblical sonorities...are in the service of transcendental longings.” 2. Snapshot of prevalent species of biblical “literary” criticism a. Victorian poet/critic MATTHEW ARNOLD i. credited for coining the phrase “Bible as Literature” b. ROBERT LOWTH; Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews (1753;1787) i. poster child for Bible as Literature ii. two years prior to WILLIAM BLAKE’S Songs of Innocence iii. 11 years prior to WORDSWORTH and COLERIDGE’S Lyrical Ballads iv. credited with uncovering the sine qua non of biblical poetry 1. LOWTHIAN heir ALTER; parallelism v. noteworthy for declaration that his approach is ‘purely critical; and consequently theological disquisitions will be avoided’ vi. still considered lodestar of approaches to the BAL 1. studying seminal works of criticism on BAL vii. LELAND RYKEN: “Lowth’s book is a landmark in the history of the BAL” 1. attributes the Romantic reading of the BAL to Lowth’s insurmountable influence viii. STEPHEN PRICKETT “the book that was to transform biblical studies in England and Germany” ix. JAMES KUGEL “changed the way we read the Bible” c. Romantics i. assumed to have ushered in an epoch of treating the Bible purely as a secular text, an approach that many critics in turn use to explain the explosion of literary-critical interest in the Bible that began approx in the 1970s ii. valued predecessors who wrote the BAL for simplicity of expression, honest depiction of human feelings, sublimity, mythic grandeur, and visionary imagination iii. WILLIAM BLAKE called the Bible the “Great Code of Art” 1. Northup Frye’s The Great Code (intertextualizes this phrase) d. Luminaries i. midcentury work provided fuel for new wave of critical inquiry in the 1970s 1. ERIC AUERBACH; Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature a. compares Homer’s epic and Genesis; Odysseus’ Scar b. launches a literary epistemology of how humans form meaning through shared systems of signs c. ar.pdf e. NORTHRUP FRYE’S Anatomy of Criticism i. Bible as the organizing principle for understanding all Western literature ii. The Great Code: The Bible and Literature 1. expands view, echoing Auerbach’s mimetic approach to theories of literary representation a. signature archetypal twists iii. HAROLD BLOOM “the Bible to a great typological code that endowed words with power: 1. an analysis of typology rather than literature iv. produced myriad lectures on the BAL captured on film 1. 3. Class a. inheritors of a tradition that throws it's metaphorical arms around artists and poets, biblical scholars, and literary critics b. two major camps most simplistically summarized as secular critics and religious scholars i. HAROLD BLOOM the very phrase BAL is ‘lame but useful;’ ‘Plainly we would wince at ‘the Illiad as literature’ and even as ‘Plato as literature.’ Yet that is because Homer and Plato are safely secular for us, while the Bible even now has an aura for many, even when they are not fundamentalists.’ ii. RYKEN “There is at present no common understanding as to what it means to approach the BAL. Any authors or publishers can hang out their shingle without challenge.” c. literary approach i. RYKEN: “a focus on the biblical text - on plot, setting, and characterization of a story...or an exploration of pattern, imagery, and figurative language in a poem.. [or] an analysis of the ideas in a text, or in matters beyond the text such as cultural context or history of commentary of a text…[or] on interdisciplinary approaches that do not resemble any traditional methods of literary criticism.” 4. Linked Articles a. Historical Critical Method i. traditional approach underpins all later approaches ii. “historical criticism” implies methods to confirm dates of origin, author identities, and other matters that help the modern critic understand the culture and time of a literary work. iii. argue that we can’t ‘interpret’ the text until we know this biography, and contend that the whole point of interpretation ought to concern itself solely with how, why , and how successfully an author intended to influence his audience at a given time in a given culture iv. threatened faithful biblical exegetes because it shifted the grounds of investigation away from the timelessness of the biblical message 1. approach Scripture as a secular text understandable solely in terms of what ancient authors were saying to ancient listeners in ancient cultures 2. give up irretrievable ontological ground 3. effects of any ‘literary critical’ apparatus can be scary because the term ‘literary’ implies secular values v. canon creation in various orthodoxies viewed the historical method as completely consistent with a faithful attempt to recover the origin of a text as the most unadulterated vi. European Enlightenment 17th c reaching full fruition with 19th c critics like LOWTH; wrestled with the central problem of balancing scientific method and faith 1. some view the intrusion of literary methodology into the realm of biblical exegesis as heretical - others welcome it as a means of ensuring authenticity 5. Source Criticism; asks whether or not a text is one, unified story from Aristotelian beginning to end a. composite of different stories, or different versions of the same stories, cobbled together by later editors? b. J (the Jahwist), E (the Eloist), D (the Deuteronomist), P (the Priestly writer or writers) i. assumes that different parts of Tanakh were written by different authors represented by these designations ii. seeks to maintain the unity of a given work by viewing it independently from a different work that might tell the same story, but probably was written by a different author. 1. ie the J writer ought to be ‘interpreted’ apart form E, even though their collaboration ultimately leads toward a larger unity c. determine who wrote which version by looking at things like changes in writing style, diction, syntax, semantics, and semiotics d. Sample of contemporary source criticism: ab62a77dde37%40sessionmgr102&vid=0&hid=107&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3Q tbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=97803816&db=rlh 6. Form criticism; extends source criticism by investigating the cultural setting that would have shaped each writer’s approach to style and structure a. J more likely to compose rhythmic poetry than P because J presumable worked in an older oral tradition that depended on the transmission of stories by producing verbal modulations and word repetitions that lend themselves to memorization? b. sample; influence on American policy: 7. Tradition criticism; (concept of pericope) examines an individual pericope in order to trace how it's contemporary interpretation or mainstream ‘meaning’ evolved over time and across cultures a. sample: fascinating for the author’s phenomenological spin away from the institution of ‘tradition’ to the faculty of ‘memory’ i. ironically reminiscent of RICHTER’S general concern about pericopes ii. 8. Redaction criticism: involves assigning a political or personal agenda to biblical editors/translators. a. redaction occurs when editors deviate from the ideal of rendering biblical texts as closely as possible to the original manuscript version b. HAROLD BLOOM: on KVJ translator “sought to appropriate the Hebrew text for a Protestant Christ” c. sample: 9ac4- 975939fca0d7%40sessionmgr198&vid=0&hid=107&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3Qt bGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=65111561&db=rlh 9. contemporary criticism; FOLKLORE STUDIES a. “Samson the Man-Child: Failing to Come of Age in the Deuteronomistic History” (2014) 10. Poetics and Literary Criticism a. b. 11. 12. Question for discussion a. summarize and evaluate the article that best reflects your preferred critical approach, and speculate about how you might use this critical apparatus in your own research paper b. not committing to any particular course of action c. read some criticism, reflect on the paper topic 13. article on Samson given directly to me by THE PROFESSOR: a. file:///C:/Users/Corinne/Downloads/The%20Myth%20of%20Samson%20Omnipot ence%20Alienation%20and%20Destructive%20Narcissism%20(1).pdf MODULE 05: SUPPLEMENTAL ARTICLE - TRADITION CRITICISM Tradition Criticism; (concept of pericope) examines an individual pericope in order to trace how it's contemporary interpretation or mainstream ‘meaning’ evolved over time and across culture Sample: fascinating for the author’s phenomenological spin away from the institution of ‘tradition’ to the faculty of ‘memory.’ Ironically reminiscent of David H. Richter’s general concern about pericopes Pericopes; what “biblical scholars call the chunks of text that can be extracted for study or for preaching” in lieu of traditionally identifiable discourse structures, like lyric poetry or epic narrative RICHTER wants us to read the WHOLE story - by doing so, we can more easily recognize that Jonah’s story serves to satirize the greed of a prophet-for-hire RICHTER: I think the world has a great deal to gain from the notion that some biblical narratives that have been absorbed into the Deuteronomistic ‘sacred history’ that runs from Joshua to 2 Kings may at some point have been designed to be read as fictions...we should be willing to assume that textual juxtapositions that generate suspicious reading today might well have done so in the intended authorial audience of historical texts. 2 Timothy 4: 1-5 Philip E. Thompson 1. (pg. 421) preaching is faithful to Christian identity and alive to the needs of Christian life a. servant of Christian memory; God’s words b. memory rather than ‘tradition’ c. tradition; the living faith of the dead i. swell of voices urging a recovery of Christian tradition ii. DH Williams Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism iii. JS Custinger Reclaiming the Great Tradition: Evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox in Dialogue iv. liable to distortion and can become traditionalism 1. the dead faith of the living; underwriting an abdication of responsibility to seek truth 2. an apostasy from the pure Word 3. deadly to Christian faithfulness 2. elusive balance of relevance to context and maintenance of identity a. J Moltmann, The Crucified God b. tasks require faithful memory c. Modernity eroded traditional authority i. sources of Christian memory, relevance, and identity imperiled d. ROBERT WILKEN; prevalence in Western Christianity i. “willful amnesia, a self-imposed affliction that would rob our lives of depth and direction” 3. Christian Memory a. connects us to saving knowledge - not through recall of facts that together comprise a static deposit of information b. biblical witness i. events of God’s salvation are not closed and deposited in the past ii. through memory all that God has done to signal the divine intent for creation 1. the call of Abraham; the exodus and covenant; the exile and return; the life, death, and especially the resurrection of Jesus iii. meets each generation - thus standing in continuity with those events 1. BS Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel iv. JAMES WM. MCCLENDON JR reference to events God signaling salvation 1. “historic signs, pillars of the divine program for show that God’s creative-redemptive journey passed this way” 2. Systematic Theology: Doctrine 3. connection to historic signs comes through “remembering signs, the repeatable monuments” in which God still acts, as God originally acted in the historic signs, applying the gifts of salvation to particular communities and persons 4. remembering signs are the sacraments and proclamation 5. verses shed upon proclamation as an event of Christian memory 4. (pg. 422) THE ESCHATOLOGICAL CONTEXT OF CHRISTIAN MEMORY (4:1-2) a. discipline of lectionary preaching i. verses appear as Ordinary Time wans and Advent approaches b. Eschatology; i. a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind ii. a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind 1. specifically: any of various Christian doctrines concerning the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, or the Last Judgement c. Christian memory and proclamation i. situated in the time of divine patience between the first and final Advents in which the life of the present community finds it's significance ii. Eschatological background underscores the urgent accountability of speaker and hearer before the Word d. Timothy is to preach whether the time is “favorable or unfavorable” i. John Calvin 1. trained in rhetoric 2. recognized this verse’s violation of the rule of decorum; of knowing the appropriate time for speech 3. spoke rather of a “ruthless persistence” of pastor and people in setting forth the Word ii. Christ’s coming will create it's own rightness of time, as does the proclamation through which Christ is remembered in the Christian gathering e. Christian memory i. no mere mental phenomenon; embodied reality, mediated through the physical elements of water, bread, wine, and the living voice in the midst of the gathering ii. Calvin taught that Christians are not to be content with “silent scripture: 1. were to find the way of learning enjoined by God and Christ in the living voice iii. BENJAMIN KEACH 1. English Puritan 2. declared that worship in the gathered community was preferable to private devotion and worship f. injunction to preach i. even in UNFAVORABLE times has been abused through ignoring the second part of v2 1. ruthless persistence becomes repulsive application of the gospel 2. the living voice becomes shrill and condemning 3. pastoral sensitivity and discernment are required ii. tasks of convincing, rebuking, and exhorting are not uniform but applicable to the various conditions of persons encountered in pastoral work iii. concludes with the exhortation to encourage with patience iv. Christian life embodies the responsiveness of Christ, whose patience is salvation to persons in their particular hardness or openness, joy or sorrow 1. responsiveness is the glory of the church 2. 2 Pet 3:15 5. THE DOCTRINAL CONTENT OF CHRISTIAN MEMORY (4:3-4) a. loss of Christian memory countered by sound doctrine i. doctrine; calls care and precision in the verbal content of theological propositions ii. adoption of MCCLENDON; “what the church must teach to be authentic church now” b. saving acts of God and faithful memory of them are not static i. come to embodiment anew in each generation ii. church commends itself to each generation by it's teaching; offers a vision of reality refracted through the lens of God’s creative-redemptive journey c. (pg. 423) verses foretell a time of apostasy and rejection of sound doctrine i. interpret as a great and general falling away ii. numbered among the signs of the end iii. those who engage in pastoral ministry would agree 1. THOMAS ODEN; situation seems more endemic to the church’s existence d. KATHLEEN NORRIS i. laments the loss of awareness in our time of the richness of Christian tradition ii. relates the tale of a young American man who attempted to join a Buddhist monastery in Thailand 1. was told to return home and become a Christian monk 2. to learn own tradition first iii. DALAI LAMA 1. Americans who wished to become Buddhist; “Don’t bother. Learn from Buddhism, if that is good for you. But do it as a Christian...And be a good friend to us” e. Apostasy from faithful Christian memory may abandon that memory i. harden that memory into such a form that it cannot see friends before it; only potential converts f. Apostasy; the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief 6. LIFE AS A SIGN OF CHRISTIAN MEMORY (4:5) a. beginning of final verse i. “As for you,” Christian community to be a living memory of Christ in the world’s most ii. Christian pastor in the community’s midst iii. gives adequate authority for Christian ministry iv. with this word we become another misunderstood term v. speak of authority in Christian life, speaking first of trust 1. WILKEN remember that the word from which we derive “authority” auctoritas, rooted in auctor, meaning “someone who is worthy of trust” 2. “Authority resides in a person who by actions as well as words invites trust and confidence” b. Paul to Timothy; “Live the content of your message,” i. expectation that Timothy will encourage the community to do the same ii. baptismal prayer from 18th c “Let his life be alike figure to his baptism” 1. “Let your life be [a like] figure to your proclamation, your teaching, your memory” 2. to remember the gospel is not to mentally form an image or simply recall a fact -> enter the vast, open middle of the story of God’s redemption, allowing the reverberation of God’s signal acts of salvation to shape life c. The authority for Christian ministry derives from the very trustworthiness of the One remembered. MODULE 06: PICK YOUR PROPHET Your Prophet I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore heare the worde at my mouth, and give them warning from me. -Ezekiel 3:17 Euro-Western tradition with Prophecy Sir Philip Sidney Percy Bysshe Shelley staunch defenders of English poetry prophetic role of seer, mystic, harbinger of deep truths as ancient tradition not restricted to a particular culture or civilization Visionary Company English literature directly identify with Hebrew prophets of Tanakh, Nevi’im Question for Discussion “you’ll pick your favorite prophet and illustrate prophetic techniques based on a close reading of the text. THE PROFESSOR picks Ezekiel, and will use that pick to illustrate the lecture points that follow.” Prophetic MO MO - modus operandi a particular way or method of doing something, especially one that is characteristic or well-established comparing and contrasting prophetic identities Biblical Prophecy all about audience God talking to humans through prophet biblical storytelling God talking to prophets, as a dialogue serving to move a story along genuine prophecy prophet as intermediary between God and the people not a genre; a pervasive topos topos: literary theme; formula by citing traditional trope or figure of speech that stands for a theme ie. ‘tempus fugit’ time flies, for ‘life is fleeting so you better make the most of it while you’re here’ prophetic theme; incorporates multiple genres prophecy as genre prophetic formulas as genres generally given as a warning typically associated with predicting the future takes the form of poetry employs the poetic techniques of parallelism, anaphora (discussed in Module 3: The Art of Biblical Poetry) Prophets Biblical Prophets as ‘former prophets’ and ‘latter prophets’ Former: part of the establishment of the nation-state of Israel in ancient times populate books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings Latter: during the division of power between Israel and Judah through the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and the Babylonian exile populate books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve, or Minor, Prophets; Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Malachi Biblical Diaspora; refers to either of two historical events: the Assyrian-Babylonian conquest of the nation-state of Judah punctuated by the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem around 586 BCE and; destruction of the remade temple by the Roman Empire in 70 CE equal historians and poets recognize when past events led to consequences are repeating ‘it's happened before, it’ll happen again’ EDMUND SPENSER author of Elizabethan English epic The Faerie Queene intimates in letter to SIR WALTER RALEIGH predicting the future is the business of ‘The Poet Historical’ “thrusteth into the middest...and there recoursing to the things forepast, and divining of things to come, maketh a pleasing analysis of all” primary principle of prophecy: looking at what's going on now, remembering how things went before, and predicting based on the comparison what's probably going to happen next The Image of the Prophet audiences react to prophets differently depending on shared belief systems predictive prophecy touchstone to explain why prophets are often depicted as crazy conduits of otherworldly knowledge audiences generally think prophets predict the future by means of divine inspiration stance established in antiquity; popularized in the epics and oracles of Greece and Rome opens prophet’s Imagination to/through inspiration way of consciousness altering enhancements; rituals, drugs, taboo stuff &et dangers of Imagination derive from mode/means of prophetic discourse Plato’s Ion; critic concedes that poets are divinely inspired but associates inspiration with madness “For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles.” “the God would seem to indicate to us and not allow us to doubt that these beautiful poems are not human, or the work of man, but divine and the work of God; and that the poets are only the interpreters of the Gods by whom they are severally possessed” poet-prophets are the messengers of some transcendent revelation beyond ordinary understanding role carries inherent dangers prophets cannot control the forces that manipulate them; cannot be trusted the effects of their divine inspiration might scare off anyone who’d heed them SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE ‘Kubla Khan: Or, Vision in a Dream’ laments that audiences who are averse to “flashing eyes and floating hair” give poet questionable attention poet-prophet’s frenzied demeanor; makes listeners ‘beware’ and thus ignore the message False Prophet judgements against false prophets arise due to expectations and anticipations tempers assumptions governing the predictive mode prophets divine future events in mind-altered states of being prophecies can be viewed as expo


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