The Names of God: Poetic Readings in Biblical Beginnings

By Herbert Chanan Brichto | Go to book overview
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EIGHT
POETICAL ODDS
AND ADDENDS

APOLOGIA

The poetic address to Scripture, departing in so many ways from the regnant schools of biblical literary criticism, necessarily entails the argumentative and disputatious nature of our discussion of texts, narrative and structural. I employ the first two adjectives in the older sense of reasoning, deducing, arriving at conclusions, without the newer overtones of quarrel or altercation. Nevertheless putting forth an alternative approach to one that has taken the stance of an orthodoxy is what occasions the ubiquitous exposition of the assumptions and presuppositions (and their justification) of a method which, by reason of its relative novelty, will appear as a challenge at best and contentious at worst. The (perhaps self-imposed) requirement to present not just an interpretation but an argument for it determined my decision to treat the narratives and structures separately. For all their mutually complementary design and function in pointing to and reinforcing the component and overarching kerygmas, the differing codes and strategies of story and structure would have made for tedious ensnarlment had they been pursued together. As it is, the poetic assumption of consistent compositional modalities across the books and genres of Scripture will be written off ab initio by those committed to the genetic approaches, with their axioms of source-provenance and diachronic development. And my marshaling of testimony from Psalms, for example, as relevant to the mentality of the author of the prose account of creation that opens the

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