Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Narrative Criticism of the New Testament: An Introduction

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Narrative Criticism of the New Testament: An Introduction

Article excerpt

Narrative Criticism of the New Testament: An Introduction. By James L. Resseguie. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2005. 288 pp. $22.99 (paper).

In Narrative Criticism of the New Testament, James Resseguie offers a thorough and readable introduction to narrative critical reading. The main focus of the book is on the act of close readings of biblical texts.

The first six chapters are devoted to explaining and illustrating the key concepts of narrative criticism. In chapter 1, Resseguie lays the groundwork for understanding narrative criticism by differentiating it from other ways of approaching biblical texts. His discussion focuses on the virtues of narrative criticism over approaches that eliminate discussion of the author, the reader, and the historical or social context ol the text. In chapters two through six, he gives a detailed discussion of the main features of narrative-rhetoric, setting, character, point-of-view, and plot. Because the book focuses on practice it includes close readings of short stories and artwork to aid the reader in applying literary concepts to biblical texts. The discussion of each specific narrative feature is illustrated by means of multiple biblical references, several of which are particularly insightful. The final chapter integrates the various features of narrative criticism by giving a lengthy close reading of the story of Nicodemus in the Gospel of John (pp. 244-255).

I did find the discussion wanting in a few respects. First, Resseguie never really takes the time to convince a skeptical reader that it is appropriate to approach the Bible as a literary text. In particular, what does this say (if anything) about the status of the biblical texts as Scripture? …

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