Narrative Criticism of the New Testament
Narrative criticism, which involves the application of literary critical methods to the study of Scripture, is a promising hermeneutical approach. Surprisingly, however, little has been written that surveys the field for a broader audience. James Resseguie's primer admirably fills that...
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Narrative criticism, which involves the application of literary critical methods to the study of Scripture, is a promising hermeneutical approach. Surprisingly, however, little has been written that surveys the field for a broader audience. James Resseguie's primer admirably fills that gap.
Readers will discover here a particularly well-balanced introduction to the subject. For those concerned with theoretical issues, there is a thorough survey of methodology, critical concepts, and the significance of literary devices. Numerous examples illustrate the fruitfulness of literary approaches for interpreting particular texts.
Following an introduction that identifies the methods of narrative criticism and distinguishes them from other hermeneutical approaches, Resseguie devotes chapters to the principal elements of narrative: setting, point of view, character, rhetoric, plot, and reader. For each, he offers practical examples of how a "close reading" of the text can discover important nuances and insights.
Resseguie points out that narrative criticism has the advantage of dealing with the text as a self-contained unit, avoiding the fragmentation often produced by other methodologies. His accessible introduction is ideal for seminarians, M.A. students, upper-divisional undergraduates, and pastors who want to learn how narrative interpretation can open up the New Testament texts.
"Resseguie's Narrative Criticism of the New Testament introduces students to a time-honored but sometimes neglected approach to getting at the message of biblical texts. His design for 'close reading' is both intellectually respectable and aesthetically rewarding; it is also relatively easy to learn, since he presents it in a manner that is clear and concise, abounding with memorable illustrations. Those who are committed to his goal of 'engaging scripture on its own terms' will find he is a reliable guide to renewing and enhancing their appreciation of biblical stories and the art of storytelling."--Mark Allan Powell, professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary"In this engaging book, James L. Resseguie offers a clear and compelling demonstration of how to do narrative criticism of the New Testament--and why it's worth doing."--James Phelan, Humanities Distinguished Professor, Ohio State University; editor, Narrative"Biblical interpretation often becomes so analytic that it deters rather than enhances the actual reading of Scripture by disciples. What counts in the final analysis is what happens when the biblical text is handled by the pastoral interpreter and the lay reader. James Resseguie has given us a profoundly scholarly book that is eminently usable for pastors and lay persons as they live in and from the narratives of Scripture. For scholars and seminarians this will be a standard for narrative criticism."--M. Douglas Meeks, Cal Turner Chancellor Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies, The Divinity School, Vanderbilt University"New Testament scholars have come to expect keen insight and clear prose from James Resseguie, and this volume will only add to that expectation. The book displays Resseguie's obvious grasp of the theories and concepts that inform the narrative critic's close readings of texts. Beyond that, though, Resseguie's work offers his considerable skill in the art of interpreting texts in general and New Testament texts in particular. Readers of every skill level will enjoy his clear explanation of narrative criticism. Those just discovering narrative criticism as a method of interpreting biblical texts will certainly benefit from the book's chapter on applying narrative criticism."--Steven M. Sheeley, assistant vice president for academic affairs, Shorter College"I have been teaching the Bible as literature--out of an English department--for over twenty-five years. Resseguie's book is among the three best, and perhaps the very best, of all introductions to the Bible as literature. This text combines comprehensive overview of the literary-critical approach and the biblical text, while deliciously shrewd with detail relative to that theory and specific biblical texts. Highly engaging and informative, it is surely a good bet for students and educators at all levels of higher education."--Paul Borgman, professor of English, Gordon College"This is an extremely readable, informative volume that will be most effective as an introduction to New Testament narrative criticism. It is a fine complement to Powell's What Is Narrative Criticism? in that it augments Powell's largely theoretical discussion by providing extensive examples of the various aspects of narrative criticism from the New Testament itself, and it relates these narrative features of the New Testament to similar features found in the arts. Resseguie's book will stir interest and excitement in the narrative study of the New Testament."--David R. Bauer, Ralph W. Beeson Professor of Inductive Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
Narrative criticism is a relatively recent development that applies literary methods to the study of Scripture. James Resseguie suggests that this approach to reading the Bible treats the text as a self-contained unit and avoids complications raised by other critical methods of interpretation.
Resseguie begins with an introductory chapter that surveys the methods of narrative criticism and how they can be used to discover important nuances of meaning through what he describes as a "close reading" of the text. He then devotes chapters to the principal rhetorical devices: setting, point of view, character, rhetoric, plot, and reader.
Readers will find here an accessible introduction to the subject of narrative criticism and a richly rewarding approach to reading the Bible.
James L. Resseguie (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is the J. Russell Bucher Professor of New Testament at Winebrenner Theological Seminary. In 1990 he taught literary theory as Fulbright Professor at the University of Iceland. He is the author of several narrative-critical studies, the most recent of which is The Revelation of John, Spiritual Landscape: Images of the Spiritual Life in the Gospel of Luke, ealier volumes include The Strange Gospel: Narrative Design and Point of View in John (Biblical Interpretation Series) and Revelation Unsealed: A Narrative Critical Approach to John's Apocalypse (Biblical Interpretation Series, V. 32).