THE DRIVING QUESTIONS IN THIS WORK ARE: HOW does the Bible itself regard its narrative portions? Do biblical stories share peculiar characteristics, and can we speak about the particular nature of the biblical story? Who set the boundaries of these stories, and who was responsible for their headings? Should a reader of these stories bear in mind the considerations of biblical criticism and the findings of biblical research? Who is the omniscient and omnipotent figure in biblical narrative, God or the narrator? How are the plot, characters, time, and place designed? What is the relationship between content and form? How can we determine the meaning of a story, and can it have more than one meaning? These issues, and others I have not listed, underlie the chapters of this book.
My aim is for this book to serve as an introduction to biblical narrative. Moreover, it is constructed in widening circles—from the decision of where to draw the boundaries of the story and how to examine the text from a critical viewpoint, through a discussion of its component parts, to the understanding of its intrinsic and contextual meanings. This method of reading progressively is achieved by looking at the same stories from different viewpoints.