C.Di Girolamo, A Critical Theory of Literature (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981)
What is literature?
a subset of written texts?
What is literary criticism?
Literary criticism is the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature . Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory , which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.
What is literary theory?
Literary theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature.
Culler, J. (1997) Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
"Form Criticism and Beyond"
James Muilenburg, Presidential Address
Society of Biblical Literature, 1968
"New" literary criticism
Is it so very different?
Does it follow naturally on from historical-critical, source...?
Are they conflicting/complementary?
The two literary strands and the theological agenda
live in uneasy tension 'shrewdly held together in the
J and P are essential to presenting the full anguish and persistence of the troubled relationship [creator <> creation] thus even in the face of literary dissection, a theological coherence is evident (p16)
Literary structure of 2.4 - 3.24 is
"concentric palistrophic pattern"
A B C D C' B' A'
Reading the text ( the text)
approach characterised by
narrative plot characterisation point of view irony
"Being able to work with such simple but basic narratological tools as plot, hero and points of view is much more important in the encounter with the Bible than being devout" (p 206)
Distinction between biblical narrative and Greek tragedy?
How does Auerbach's argument help us reflect
on what we are trying to do when we read biblical
The narrator is reliable and omniscient : that is, he serves as the voice and perspective of God
The narration is scenic : that is, the emphasis is on direct action and interaction of the characters rather than on descriptive detail of the environs
The narratives are sparsely written : that is they focus on what is essential for the narrative
The author will use Leitwortstil : that is, he will repeat a key word or word root to draw attention to thematic issues
The author employs wordplay , such as words or roots used with different meanings or words that sound alike; these are generally used for ironic contrasts
The author signals heightened speech using poetic diction: that is, elevated diction of a speech that is evidence of its significance; often oracular, it may even be divine speech
The author uses repetition , such as of similar kinds of events, and even of scenes, in different circumstances
The author employs analogy and contrast , where the characters and scenes are like and unlike one another
A text is an act of communication.
A text is a means by which the speaker (or author ) operates on that shared picture of the world to produce some effect (the message ) in the audience. (p 6)
C.John Collins, Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary and Theological Commentary (Phillipsburg, P&RPublishing, 2006)
"The authors and their audiences also share linguistic and literary conventions, which indicate how to interpret the text..."
"...For an audience to interpret a text properly, they must cooperate with the author as he has expressed himself in the text."
"This also means that, for the purpose of ascertaining intent, it matters little whether the author is a single individal or a committee"
An approach, among many
"The Bible is not a picture book for our own ideas, which we open only if we want our opinions confirmed, or our vanity tickled. Nor is it a box of prooftexts." (p 207)