Interdisciplinary Interpretation of the Bible Text

By Han, Ying | International Journal of English Linguistics, February 2015 | Go to article overview

Interdisciplinary Interpretation of the Bible Text


Han, Ying, International Journal of English Linguistics


Abstract

Literature and critical and creative thinking complement each other. The Bible's classics status has been demonstrated and approved by many Western and domestic scholars, accordingly literary criticism of the Bible examined extensively and from different angles. This paper makes an interdisciplinary interpretation of the Bible text from the perspective of literature, history, philosophy and so on. It suggests offering course of literary criticism of the Bible and cultivating critical and creative thinking.

Keywords: the Bible, text, interdisciplinary, literary criticism; interpretation, critical and creative thinking

1. The Status of the Bible

The Bible is one of the most influencing books in the history of human civilization. In the field of interdisciplinary studies of contemporary culture, the literary study of the Bible shows strong academic vitality to a variety of extremely divergent readings. The Bible is a complete fusion of art of literature, theology, ethics, and historical speculation; if we want to thoroughly know the latter (theology), we must fully grasp the former (literature). The Bible closely relates religious value and literary works value together, the two values being inseparable. In some scholars' eyes, for example Alter, the Bible is a unity of theology, history and literature. In fact, its theological ideas and historical content must be expressed with the help of the language means or literary techniques. Religious view of the Bible is conveyed through the most delicate ways of prose fictions to add its depth (Robert, 1997). This paper makes an interdisciplinary interpretation of the Bible text from the perspective of literature, history, philosophy and so on. It suggests offering course of literary criticism of the Bible and cultivating critical and creative thinking.

2. Literature Review of Literary Criticism of the Bible

The research of the Bible in the western countries has a long history. The literary study of the Bible in the academic field, especially in Western countries, is in a very prominent position. Especially in the 20th century called the "critical theoretical century", the researchers got out of the narrow vision of the literature of the Bible, using a variety of critical theories to launch an overall research to the Bible as the literature in a full swing. The works of a group of well-known scholars, such as E. Auerbach, N. Frye, R. Alter, and M. Sternberg, represent the latest achievements in the literature of the Bible during the latter half of the 20th century, especially Alter's The Art of Biblical Narrative, Sternberg's The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading are recognized as the narrative critical models of the Bible (Alter, 1981; Sternberg, 1987).

However, in China, after the Third Plenary Session, with the ideological liberation movement and the continuous deepening of reform and opening up, literary research of the Bible began to recover gradually, achieving impressive fmits and becoming one of the world's literature focuses that cannot be ignored. Mainland Chinese academics to study the Bible were left behind the Western ones nearly half a century. After 20 years of the reform and opening up (1979-1999), the scholars conducted a whole comb of the literary studies of the Bible in China (Liang, 1999). Domestic research of the Bible in the eighties and nineties mostly stay in the general review or translated level and there are few high-quality research monographs. Until the late 1990s, this situation began to change.

The author made a statistical analysis of a small-scale of China's Bible literary studies in 2000-2013. Entering with "the text of the Bible" in Chinese journals' database, the results of the accurate search show that 2000-2003 owns 314 pieces; 2004-2007 owns 623 pieces; 2008-2013, 1280 pieces. In terms of the size and quantity, it was very impressive, showing an increasing trend year by year, and the Bible in the world of literature in this field conforms to the proportion in the world; in terms of quality, either the discussion on the Bible in content, ideas, form of skills, style, etc. …

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