The Literary Guide to the Bible
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Rediscover the incomparable literary richness and strength of a book that all of us live with an many of us live by. An international team of renowned scholars, assembled by two leading literary critics, offers a book-by-book guide through the Old and New Testaments as well as general essays on the Bible as a whole, providing an enticing reintroduction to a work that has shaped our language and thought for thousands of years.
the sun at the beginning of the main clause. The action of B is clarified in B'. Unlike Hosea 12:5, the narrator purposely does not reveal who the man of the night is, but modestly makes room for the protagonist himself, who in verse 3o draws his own far-reaching conclusions and then spells them out for us. With his announcement of his deliverance in verse 3oc comes the proper fulfillment of his cry for help in II a. Even under the enormous stress of this rite de passage, Jacob remains himself in
California at Berkeley. The hospitality of the Provost of King's College, Cambridge, and of Mrs. Williams enabled us to work together at a critical moment; and the generosity of Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem, gave us the chance to consult directly with our contributors in Israel. And finally, we are experienced enough in work of this kind to be conscious of our good fortune in having contributors notable for their enthusiasm, good humor, and punctuality. Contents GENERAL INTRODUCTION
occupies 353 of the 1,574 pages of the Hebrew basic text. 3. Northrop Frye pointed out in his Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton, 1 957) that "higher" criticism actually is a kind of lower criticism and indicated what genuine literary criticism', should do with the Bible. Frye has continued this line of thought in The Great Code (London, 1982). 4. Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York, 1981), p. 13. Also see his humorous p. 48. 5. When I speak of lines, I suppose a so-called
delivers to David a new prophecy, a stinging rebuke of David's treachery to Uriah the Hittite, we encounter the first tangible demonstration that the kingly house will be both punished and preserved: David's child by Bathsheba will die (as indeed happens later in the chapter); but when David consoles Bathsheba over this death they make love and she conceives again. "She bore a son and called him Solomon. YHWH favored him and sent a message by the prophet Nathan; and he was named Jedidiah 1 AND
suspense in the story, it serves the narrator's theological purpose admirably. The exile is not a capricious rejection by God, but a deliberate response to Israel's sins that was foretold time and again. Another major effect of this technique is the enhancement of the role of the prophet. There is no prophetic figure in Kings (except those who are intentionally proved false) whose words do not come to pass, either as predicted or with some degree of reinterpretation.' The ideal of prophecy