Old Testament Narratives: Integrative Literature
The first genre of the Old Testament to be discussed is called "Narrative." While this “older” testament has other elements—such as poetry, apocalyptic/prophecy, and letter—it is narrative which provides a glimpse at early history followed by the establishment of “Israel” as Gods special people.
But it is in the course of providing the narrative, that these other elements are integrated to provide a fuller picture, one with emotion and meaning, as well as just factual assertions of events.
This course splits the Old Testament narrative into two parts—the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) and the rest of the narrative (all the way through exile and return). Narrative provides a “skeleton” on which to place the other genres in their own time frames and cultural interests. As with any historical rendering, the authors made important choices as to what to include. Much like we hear from the ending of the Gospel of John where it states, “…many other things Jesus said and did. If they were all recorded the entire world could not contain the books.”
Here, too, choices were made to show which events were those that represented the work of God in the history of the people.
We approach this opening section of the Bible with a deep appreciation for how it emphasizes God as one who creates and communicates.
While “narrative” is the skeleton, poetry and story are the “flesh” which fills out that narrative journey. This is abundantly clear when we are met with “The Beginning” as it relates aspects of God’s creation for which there were no human witnesses. We need to be sensitive, then, to that fact that while the narrative portions drive the story forward in relating historical events, the books of the Bible also pause to present poetical renditions of these events as well. Perhaps we can see the hand of God who, as the beautiful creation is revealed, it is expressed in the most beautiful of written style: poetry.
An Example: The Creation Account
As we open the very first part of the Bible, the Torah or Pentateuch (Five Books), we are immediately confronted with what appears to modern readers as an historical account of the “days” (Hebrew, yom) of creation. Upon reading through those “days” you recognize a repeating pattern which is normally a good clue to the fact that you are reading poetry, not narrative. So, you are probably noticing direct and implied presuppositions, genre, and interpretation matters in the challenge of how to sort all of that out. What presuppositions does each bring to the discussion? How can we account for the genres? Interpretation forces us to ask those questions.
So, what is the genre of the Creation Account? Yes, it is part of the Old Testament narrative. But we also learn that approximately 75% of the Tanakh (Old Testament) is poetry.
Normally we have no question about calling such books as Psalms and Proverbs, Hebrew poetry.
But we also need to understand that even in the book of Genesis we find it in abundance as well.
Such will change how we receive and teach the actual events of creation.
What can we conclude about this phenomenon? First, the ancients did not necessarily prefer strictly historical narrative to that which is integrated with poetry and other forms of literature (such as genealogical lists, wisdom sayings, and the like). Second, interpreting this “integrated narrative” will take more care than just accepting every word as if it were a “play by play” of an on-the-scene observer. Third, we will also want to understand how these genres carry an even greater meaning than straight narrative can, since they reach us on several levels of understanding, not just the historical.
Therefore, even in the very first pages of Scripture, we need to recognize that the ancients were not inspired to write as we might if it were us doing it now. We also learn that they likely wrote this way since most people would pass along these words by oral repetition and not by reading.
When we interpret, their needs, not ours, come first, if we wish to get to the original intent of the content.
How Assumptions Control Interpretations
It is not a startling notion that the point at which you start an investigation often determines what you will find. The idea of presuppositions and subjectivity are notions to be identified and to which we should readily admit that we bring to the text.
However, some of our congregations may not realize that there are differing ways to view the Bible since they often take their pastor’s, or favorite author’s view as one which, along with Scripture, is divinely inspired.
In the link below, you’ll be able to see three representative views on just one topic, the term Yom, meaning “day” in the creation account. This is provided to be illustrative of the fact that we should always start with humility and awareness of our own biases when we do the work of interpretation.
The controlling notion of this course is, that the best reading of Scripture is what the original author intended (as much as can be determined) and what the original readers could have understood. While this, too, is a controlling presupposition, it is one that does not try to bring a particular “preferred view” of the trajectory of Scripture but, rather, attempts to have the texts
speak for themselves in their original context. It is only after we understand that context and meaning that we should try to apply those meanings to our present day situations.
The “Law” as Genre
In noting that much of the Pentateuch focuses on Moses’ life and the Exodus, we can also note that four out of the five books of Moses also focus on The Law, both its actual statutes (Leviticus) and its importance (Deuteronomy).
Many interpreters have focused on the ancient systems of legal agreements, which we call “covenants,” whichgoverned relationships between people with their neighbors, and people with their governments.
One important interpreter to point out the similarities between ancient covenant structures and the covenants of the Bible was Meredith Kline. Be sure to note the many readings we have from him. Kline provides a useful hermeneutical key when he writes of the Great King and his Covenant of Creation." Kline (2006) notes that "the evidence is ample and clear" that "the
substance of berith (Covenant) is present." "The kingdom order described in Genesis 1–3 was
characterized by precisely those elements that constitute a Covenant, for it was produced through
divine words and acts of commitment and it was subject to the sanctions of ultimate divine
blessing and curse."
While some take issue that Kline used this hermeneutical scheme to assert one, and only one,
hermeneutical key, his work is most helpful is assessing the emphases that are found in these
texts, and how they relate to those types of relationships and institutions that governed the lives
of the ancient world.
The genre of “Law” then, presented in narrative form, is a key factor which shows the center
point of the relationship between God and the people of Israel. As ancient people, they would
have understood the Law as the agreement which bound both they and God (voluntarily, we
might add) to certain understandings of how their relationship would be structured.
Old Testament Narratives are sacred records of how God worked with the people in a far
different time and culture. How do they differ from modern narratives and how should we
interpret these records as guidance for our congregations today?
In a minimum of 200 words, post your response to the Discussion Area.
Graduatewriterhelp.com Plagiarism Free Papers
Are you looking for custom essay writing service or even dissertation writing services? Just request for our write my paper service, and we\’ll match you with the best essay writer in your subject! With an exceptional team of professional academic experts in a wide range of subjects, we can guarantee you an unrivaled quality of custom-written papers.
Why Hire Graduatewriterhelp.com writers to do your paper?
Quality- We are experienced and have access to ample research materials.
We write plagiarism Free Content
Confidential- We never share or sell your personal information to third parties.
Support-Chat with us today! We are always waiting to answer all your questions.
Graduatewriterhelp.com is an online academic writing site catering to students from all educational levels, from high school and college to graduate level and beyond. The website has a team of experienced writers who are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to provide top-notch custom writing services for any task assigned by our customers.
At Graduatewriterhelp.com, we specialize in offering assistance with the following tasks: essays, research papers, projects, case studies, book reviews, lab reports, presentations, term papers and even editing or proofreading services as well. All these tasks can be done according to the instructions provided by our clients without compromising on the quality or accuracy of work delivered within shorter periods of time as per customer requirements. Clients also have access to knowledgeable customer support staff, which assists them with their queries at any time during the day or night when placing orders through our website interface.
In addition to the regular services offered by Graduatewriterhelp.com such as essay writing help for high school and college assignments; dissertation/thesis preparation for postgraduate programs; coursework composition for undergraduates; editing/proofreading services for students who require revisions on pre-written works; we also offer specialized services like grant proposal writing assistance for those seeking funds from external bodies; data analysis report creation based on statistical information collected from relevant sources; CV/resume formatting according to employer expectations; literature reviews postulating various interpretations on certain topics etcetera based on customer needs..
We also facilitate the completion of important applications such as those needed while applying abroad or enrolling into some universities where thoroughness is critical in order secure admissions favorably that meet admission criteria demandingly set forth by these institutions due to intense competition witnessed globally today among prospective applicants vying places available therein limited vacancies so created thereupon every academic year…
Moreover, our experts are qualified in diverse fields being well versed in different areas of knowledge too, thus enabling us to cover almost any topic that may come your way thereby providing comprehensive solutions pertaining same conclusively efficient manner possible, meeting customer deadlines within the desired timeframe successfully sans excuses whatsoever implicated concerning inconsistency matters grade expectation meeting provided via us hereunder…
By availing our services at Graduatewriterhelp.com, clients can rest assured that their work will be completed accurately within their specified deadlines without compromising quality standards expected out of professional service providers like ourselves.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more