The Art of Biblical Narrative #2020

The Art of Biblical Narrative Robert Alter The Art of Biblical Narrative In what is both a radical approach to the Bible and a fundamental return to its narrative prose Robert Alter reads the Old Testament with new eyes the eyes of a literary critic Alter takes the old y

  • Title: The Art of Biblical Narrative
  • Author: Robert Alter
  • ISBN: 9780465004270
  • Page: 108
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Art of Biblical Narrative Robert Alter In what is both a radical approach to the Bible, and a fundamental return to its narrative prose, Robert Alter reads the Old Testament with new eyes the eyes of a literary critic Alter takes the old yet simple step of reading the Bible as a literary creation.
    The Art of Biblical Narrative Robert Alter

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      Published :2020-02-07T17:40:06+00:00

    One thought on “The Art of Biblical Narrative”

    1. In this short but dense work, Alter presents his case for the Bible, particularly the Old Testament OT , as a piece of literature that can and should be examined with literary techniques We found this book both very helpful and incredibly frustrating at times It is helpful because Alter lays out useful techniques that help one examine the Bible as a piece of literature by paying attention to words, actions, dialogue, and narration It is, however, frustrating because Alter is apparently unaware o [...]

    2. The Art of Biblical Narrative is the best critical work I have read It does than just explain It teaches It encourages It makes the reader want to read the Hebrew Bible for the pure pleasure of practicing what has been learned, to discover the literary secrets of the Bible and to enjoy anew the art of reading.I read the Bible, not as revelation nor as history, although I suppose that there is some history there I read the Bible as literature and as a literary source of Western culture Robert Al [...]

    3. The author is a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature, not a theologian or biblical scholar This is the basis for a perspective on the Old Testament to which most Christian readers do not have access Consider, for example, the talking snake of Genesis 3 fictionalized prose or historically accurate Most conservative Christians don t want to go there Might there be something to be gained by doing so

    4. Alter s description of the intricate details of OT narratives that usually escape modern readers is fantastic His defence of the literary integrity of the OT narratives against the claims of source criticism is refreshing He s ambivalent about the historicity of the events of the OT narratives Alter writes from a Jewish viewpoint.

    5. So why are there two separate creation myths in Genesis The story of God creating Adam and Eve simultaneously and the story of God creating Eve out of Adam s rib Source criticism would have us believe that the redactor was simply stitching together stories from two distinct oral traditions Robert Alter would have us look at the Bible through the lens of literary criticism, to recognize and consider how and why the author s employed such literary devices as narration, dialogue, characterization, [...]

    6. This is the first major book length treatment of the Bible as literature, and was published in the 1980s I especially enjoyed the chapter, Composite Artistry In that chapter Alter showed that contradictions in the Bible were due not to sloppiness by the unsophisticated ancients, was often assumed, but the deliberate thrust of a literary genius.Most memorable was the section on the 2 different creation accounts in Genesis The P account Gen 1 2 4 presents an orderly narrative of the creation of th [...]

    7. Definitely a mixed bag, but Alter makes his point well the Bible is not a poorly written, sketchy book It is, in fact, the most carefully written, well thought out, systematic book you will ever read.

    8. A pleasure to read Demonstrates very simply how masterful even crafty the Scriptures are, with many practical tips on reading between the lines in the Bible.

    9. Religious tradition has by and large encouraged us to take the Bible seriously rather than enjoy it, but the paradoxical truth of the matter may well be that by learning to enjoy the biblical stories fully as stories, we shall also come to see clearly what they mean to tell us about God, man, and the perilously momentous realm of history So ends Robert Alter s seminal contribution to biblical literary criticism I am convinced that any serious biblical scholar, and not only Old Testament schola [...]

    10. Alter is deeply, almost aggressively ignorant of the history of both the Hebrew Bible itself and the region in which its stories take place, but doesn t let that stop him from delineating historical fact and fancy, and projecting, evidence free, scores of motives onto both the writers of the Bible and their original target audience, usually in exactly the smug and self indulgent way his stereotype as a literary analyst demands.If his point is that Hebrew Bible s legendary dullness is mostly a co [...]

    11. I really enjoyed this book Alter walks through the literary features of the Hebrew Bible within the narrative accounts There are so many great insights in this book.While Alter identifies the historical impulse behind the biblical text, he doesn t hold up the historicity of everything in the biblical account which I would However his attention to the literary artistry and examination of the Hebrew idiom and literary conventions i.e repetition of key words, variations in repeated words, economic [...]

    12. The monotheistic revolution of biblical Israel was a continuing and disquieting one It left little margin for neat and confident views about God, the created world, history, and man as a political animal or moral agent, for it repeatedly had to make sense of the intersection of incompatibles the relative and the absolute, human imperfection and divine perfection, the brawling chaos of historical experience and God s promise to fulfill a design in history The biblical outlook is informed, I think [...]

    13. I did try with this It s written from a Jewish perspective, supposedly showing how the Old Testament is written with various literary styles, and the significance of them It sounded interesting, and was one of the required books for a theology course my son took.Unfortunately, it was verbose and rather tedious, at least in the first couple of chapters Worse, it spent far too long criticising many other writers who had written on similar topics Perhaps the criticisms were valid, but they didn t a [...]

    14. Fantastic analysis of the Hebrew text from a secular literary perspective Alter is a genius at bringing the stories of the bible into beautiful detail, and he gives the reader the tools to do the same I would recommend this to anyone who has ever seen the bible as being crudely written.

    15. What are we to make of the astringent, crabbed and cryptic prose of the Old Testament There is a quality to hearing it spoken, but reading it just seems dismal Details are left out, as well as motivations Stories jump from one incident to another without rhyme or reason It is an extremely cold style, with little emotion, warmth or compassion, and practically no humor or joy Alter does better than most all in showing the genius of the Old Testament writers Alter highlights four literary technique [...]

    16. It s a really interesting book, looking at the Bible as a finely tuned intricate piece of work Alter challenges the modern criticisms of the Old Testament that see things like repetition as examples of bad editors, or lazy writers Instead, Alter speaks of scene types , where familiar characteristics call us to look closer, ask what similarities and differences between stories mean.It was a really worthwhile book to read, though I would say that Alter sometimes takes his theories applies them a l [...]

    17. The Art of Biblical Narrative is perhaps the best tool to enable someone to understand, interpret, and appreciate the narratives found in scripture The principles and observations found in this volume are dense, but accessible Anyone doing work in the Old Testament or even a lay reader of Scripture should pick this text up Those of a theologically conservative background, however, would probably not subscribe to his theological conclusions, but the observations are fantastic nonetheless.

    18. From a Jewish perspective Really helpful to explain what important aspects of OT narrative to look for when analyzing the texts His examples are perhaps the best part His explanation of the importance of dialogue made the style of OT narrative meaningful to me He ardently defends the artistic quality of the texts against contemporary assumptions of crudeness, which I appreciated.

    19. A masterful little book If you want to read anything on literary approaches to the OT, this is quite a good choice Compact, artful and filled with delightful explanations of biblical narratives The concept of historicized prose fiction was very enlightening to me although I would prefer fictionized prose history.

    20. Overall, Alter aims to demonstrate that the Bible should be considered from a literary perspective, and that the Bible fundamentally depicts the same literary art that is ascribed to to use Alter s examples the poetry of Dante, the plays of Shakespeare, the novels of Tolstoy 13 He does so through discussion of both the literary characteristics throughout the biblical text as well as providing examples of how these play out in specific narratives What is most central to this welcome study is the [...]

    21. Incredibly important, endlessly insightful, lucidly written One of the best books of any sort that I ve read.

    22. Amazing book Wonderful to read if somewhat over flowery at points This does what any great book should do causes you to think of something in a whole new way, sheds further light on the text, and creates new pathways of meaning from which to take extensive journeys I particularly liked its discussions of contrastive dialogue, narrative analogy, word choice, Leitworter, and ambiguity I particularly agree with him when it comes to the historical process trying to peer back behind the text to recon [...]

    23. The biblical tale, through the most rigorous economy of means, leads us again and again to ponder complexities of motive and ambiguities of character because these are essential aspects of its vision of man, created by God, enjoying or suffering all the consequences of human freedom Almost the whole range of biblical narrative embodies the basic perception that man must live before God, in the transforming medium of time, incessantly and perplexingly in relation with others loc 473 It is peculia [...]

    24. I appreciated much of what Alter writes, especially with regard to the complexities of design and the literary unity of the Biblical narrative The recurring motifs, leitworts, and patterns of repetition in the Bible often prove significant for our understanding of the Hebrew Bible I also appreciated some of what he had to say about literary conventions in the Hebrew Bible He contends that some of what higher critical scholarship attributes to sloppy redaction may be purposeful design on the part [...]

    25. Robert Alter does an excellent job explaining how the stories of the Bible are much complex and interesting than we give them credit for Of course, many of these stories are monumental cultural landmarks even today, but Alter argues that most of us are not reading them as the truly revolutionary works of literature they are Through the use of various inventive literary techniques, the Bible authors, with remarkable economy of language, tell the story of mankind s relationship with God These sto [...]

    26. This turned out to be not quite the book I was looking for I m teaching the Abraham and Isaac story soonish, so I wanted some help with what was happening there, and I thought, heck, I can probably learn something to apply to my own writing if I read about biblical narrative But instead, this book is really focused like a laser on the stories it considers, and is interested in them in ways that are very grounded so you learn a lot about how in the David story knowledge is parsed out, or why the [...]

    27. A extraordinary book of rare critical acumen, Alter sets out to display the high art of concise and laconic biblical narrative while challenging many of the basic assumptions of source and to some extent redaction criticism With Alter, many premises of the documentary hypothesis, while not dead, are at least made moribund or not very convincing, To take one example, there is an inset narrative in Genesis showing the adventures of Judah with Tamar that interrupts the Joseph saga before it resumes [...]

    28. This book looks at the literary artistry evident in many of the Biblical narratives He is not concerned with how the Bible got its current shape, or what its purpose is rather, he wants his readers to see the great skill with which the narratives were woven He discusses Biblical type scenes, uses of convention, narration vs dialogue the Bible leans heavily toward the latter in its narratives why what do we learn this way , the techniques of repetition and reticence, composite artistry, and inter [...]

    29. Alter contributes some excellent insights into the techniques and patterns of the Biblical authors which are quite helpful to the modern reader in getting at the intended meaning of the text However, Alter subscribes to views of higher criticism, even going so far as to label Biblical narratives as prose fiction In his view these narratives were contrived to convey true principles about God and man but can hardly be called history While Alter s observations about techniques of repetition, themat [...]

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