By Walter Brueggemann

During this up to date version of the preferred textbook, Walter Brueggemann and Tod Linafelt introduce the reader to the huge theological scope of the outdated testomony, treating the most vital concerns and strategies in modern biblical interpretation. This truly written textbook specializes in the literature of the outdated testomony because it grew out of spiritual, political, and ideological contexts over many centuries in Israel's historical past. protecting each publication within the previous testomony (arranged in canonical order), the authors reveal the improvement of theological innovations in biblical writings from the Torah via post-exilic Judaism. This advent invitations readers to interact within the development of that means as they enterprise into those undying texts.

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For example, the biblical narrator will never be represented as speaking in poetry, but characters can be, as in the deathbed blessing of Jacob near the end of the book of Genesis (chap. 49) or the Song of Deborah in the book of Judges (chap. 5). The second way that biblical lyric poetry distinguishes itself from narrative is in its willingness to give access to the inner lives of its speakers. If biblical narrative trades in opaqueness of characterization, biblical poetry fairly revels in the exposure of subjectivity.

I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham” (6:6–8). The response? “They would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery” (6:9). The point would seem to be a sociological one: the people cannot be liberated before they are ready, and after generations of bondage and hard labor it will take more than promises 26 An Introduction to the Old Testament to get them ready; only after seeing the very real power of Pharaoh broken by repeated plagues are the Israelites able to summon the energy to come out of Egypt.

For example, biblical narrative especially (things are very different with biblical poetry, as we will see below) works with a very limited vocabulary, and it often repeats a word several times rather than resorting to synonyms. Its syntax too seems rudimentary to modern ears, linking clause after clause with a simple “and” (what the linguists call “parataxis”) that reveals little about their syntactical relation, instead of using complex sentences with subordinate clauses (“hypotaxis”). ” And if modern translations tend to obscure these features, even when one is not reading the Hebrew one is bound to notice the paucity of metaphorical description, the brevity of dialogue, the lack of reference to the interior lives of characters, the limited use of figural perspective (that is, dropping into the perspective of characters within the narrative world), and not least the jarring concreteness with which God is imagined to be involved in human history.

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