What Does it Mean to Read the Old Testament as Literature?

Brettler's How to Read the Bible

When we come back to class on Friday, we’ll continue our discussion of what it means to read the Old Testament as literature.  Different ways of asking this question might be, “what does it mean to study the OT as literature?”  “What types of things does one do or presuppose when one undergoes a literary critical study of the OT?”  “What difficulties might one who studies the OT as literature encounter?”  “When studying the OT as Literature, what are some things that one should try to avoid?”

We started a good list in class, and I hope you’ll build on those ideas as you read the first three chapters of Marc Brettler.  I’ve found that a great introduction to Brettler as a scholar and an intellectual is his interview on NPR about the book we’re reading.  Additionally, please read John Gabel’s essay on “The Bible as Literature” and Olshen’s brief chapter, “Return to  Tanakh” (.PDF download).

After reading these three selections, you might have some more reflections on what it means to read the OT as Literature.  Once you have signed on to your WordPress account, I invite anyone who feels so inclined to write a blog post that synthesizes the wealth of questions at hand here.  Feel free to tell us about yourself and speak from your own experience as you approach the OT.

What aspects of the class seem most interesting to you?

What do you hope to learn in this class?

Advertisements

About Andrew Battista

Andrew Battista is Librarian for Geospatial Information Systems at New York University
This entry was posted in Conversation Paper Topics, Miscellaneous Discussion, Supplementary Readings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What Does it Mean to Read the Old Testament as Literature?

  1. Ashley Lee says:

    What aspects of the class seem most interesting to you?

    I’m interested in learning to examine the text as a piece of literature without preconceived notions of what one should be expecting to obtain from it. And seeing the theology that comes from the text without reading it as a precursor to the New Testament but as piece of literature on it’s own, and even as a sum of different pieces of literature. I’m interested in the culture behind the text, the time and the people it was written for, and the differences of the way things were interpreted then and the way they are interpreted now.

    What do you hope to learn in this class?

    I hope to learn how to read the Old Testament as one would have read it before the New Testament was written. I hope to gain insight into their culture to make since of some of the literature that difficult to understand in our modern world, as well as the progression of theology up to modern times by learning theology the way it was originally written before Christ and Christianity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s