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Narrative Criticism of the New Testament: An Introduction [Paperback]

James L. Resseguie

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Book Description

1 Nov 2005
Narrative criticism is a relatively recent development that applies literary methods to the study of Scripture. James Resseguie suggests that this approach to reading the Bible treats the text as a self contained unit and avoids complications raised by other critical methods of interpretation. Resseguie begins with an introductory chapter that surveys the methods of narrative criticism and how they can be used to discover important nuances of meaning through what he describes as a "close reading" of the text. He then devotes chapters to the principal rhetorical devices: setting, point of view, character, rhetoric, plot, and reader. Readers will find here an accessible introduction to the subject of narrative criticism and a richly rewarding approach to reading the Bible. Narrative criticism is a relatively recent development that applies literary methods to the study of Scripture. James Resseguie suggests that this approach to reading the Bible treats the text as a self contained unit and avoids complications raised by other critical methods of interpretation. Resseguie begins with an introductory chapter that surveys the methods of narrative criticism and how they can be used to discover important nuances of meaning through what he describes as a "close reading" of the text. He then devotes chapters to the principal rhetorical devices: setting, point of view, character, rhetoric, plot, and reader. Readers will find here an accessible introduction to the subject of narrative criticism and a richly rewarding approach to reading the Bible.

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About the Author

James L. Resseguie (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is the author of several narrative critical studies, the most recent of which is Spiritual Landscape: Images of the Spiritual Life in the Gospel of Luke. He is the J. Russell Bucher Professor of New Testament at Winebrenner Theological Seminary.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars all the makings of a good story. . . 18 April 2006
By Michael Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Narrative Criticism in the field of biblical studies is an emerging discipline still seeking a common foundation as well as full development. Thus, there need to be good and solid primers which can accurately assess and present the ins and outs of this very important approach to scripture. James L. Resseguie has given us such a volume in this introductory work.

Combining methodology which might be reminiscent of many Literature 101 courses, the author here presents the primary literary devices of rhetoric, setting, character, point of view and plot as a way of better understanding and evaluating the biblical narrative. His approach is very clear and attainable as he uses both secular and sacred examples of each presented category and methodology to demonstrate how such categories can illuminate a given passage. Understanding that most students of scripture (lay or professional) do not necessarily have a grasp or memory of such literary devices, Resseguie clearly offers introductory material without losing himself in a sea of methodology.

What is the big deal about narrative criticism? For a postmodern generation, the increasing emphasis on story and storytelling is quite important and should be understood by those who desire to understand that story. That is to say, there is an overall sense that one is 'learning to read' by working through this book.

Although there is certainly room to disagree with some of the author's applications, that is not the scope of this work. Resseguie does not engage complex debate but only a few times and allows this to be a solid 'introduction' to the methodology of hermeneutic rather than beind distracted by interpretive conclusions. Matters of interpretation certainly have their place, but there is the ongoing sharpening of method to conclusion, conclusion to method.

Highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best in the Field 25 Jun 2012
By Stephan Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have used Resseguie's book in my Gospels course for many years. I have used others, but for me this is the most comprehensive book in the field, esp. for NT narrative -- the most bang-for-the-buck. The strength of it is that it introduces about every concept one could think of, explains well at a level that the college student should be expected to read and provides excellent interpretations of texts demonstrating the method.

The final chapter gives students the questions they should use in interpreting biblical narratives themselves; it is akin to a two page handout. I have required students to write their textual analysis papers using Resseguie's questions, with good results.
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