Reading Biblical Narratives: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible

By Yairah Amit; Yael Lotan | Go to book overview

Four
Beginnings and Endings

THUS FAR WE HAVE DISCUSSED THE OUTLINE of the story and the need to examine the demarcated unit in light of the findings of critical Bible research. We can now look at the way the stories open and close.

In most cases, the story opens with an exposition, which provides readers with the primary information and basic background materials to enable them to enter the world of the story, at least at the start.1 These materials may present the central characters, refer to the time and/or place of the action, or depict the prevailing conditions and customs in the story’s setting, which introduces the readers to a world that is differently constituted from their own. For example, the opening of the story of the Tower of Babel depicts a world that is unlike our own: “Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words…” (Gen ii:i).2

The exposition is usually made up of descriptive and static information, which can even be determined as habitual, and ends with the transition to the dynamic action in the form of some statement or deed that changes the initial situation. Consequendy, the

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Reading Biblical Narratives: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • One - The Power of Stories 1
  • Two - Story Scholars An J the Role of the Reader 10
  • Three - A Biblical Story Alongside Biblical Criticism 22
  • Four - Beginnings and Endings 33
  • Five - Plots, Structures, and Their Functions 46
  • Six - Creating Characters with Μinimal Means 69
  • Seven - Whom to Believe? 93
  • Eight - The Biblical Story and the Use of Time 103
  • Nine - Place, Story, and History 115
  • Ten - Inherent and Added Significance 126
  • Eleven - The Story and Its Context 138
  • Afterword 148
  • Abbreviations 150
  • Notes 152
  • Works - Cited 169
  • Index - Of Biblical References 181
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