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And God Said What?: An Introduction to Biblical Literary Forms for Bible Lovers
Explains literary forms used in Scripture -- myth, gospel, parable, allegory, letter, and others -- and shows how this knowledge is important in interpreting the Bible.
Paperback, 255 pages
Published June 1st 1986 by Paulist Press
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I was lucky enough to have Dr. Ralph herself use this book as a text book in a class for lay people at Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, KY. Through the text and her personal insight, I am now able to read the Bible and truly understand more of what I am reading. She explains that by knowing the literary form in which the author of the particular book of the Bible that I am reading used in writing the book, I can understand better the message they were trying to convey to me. It has b...more
I've read too many books on apologetics trying to explain and defend the Bible. Then I read this book in 1998 after taking a bible as literature class for my English major. In a very simple way, it introduced an incredibly deeper understanding of the Bible: an inspired aesthetic and timeless collection of artful stories. We learn through stories. To have a stronger understanding of these stories we need to know the literary forms; and through these forms a story is told.
I would never have discovered this book if not for it being part of a bible study. Although I don't agree with everything in this book, I have gained so much insight from reading it. The bible has so much more meaning now that I understand why certain books were written and in what context. Knowing the genres that each book is written in makes all the difference. I feel like reading more of the bible now, if only I had more time.
I used chapters from this book in teaching. Students responded especially well to the chapter on myth.I wish there were a version of this book that was a notch more scholarly--something that reads more like religious studies than theology.
May 04, 2008 Johanna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Johanna by: Chole
Great book introducing the reader, as the title suggests, to Biblical literary forms. An eye-opener to the importance of knowing the style of writing you are reading the Bible rather than just that you reading the Bible.
We went through this book together, which means slow. But it is an exceptional book. One of the many distortions of religious belief from which we suffer in modern life is the idea of Biblical literalism. Margaret Nutting Ralph begins with this simple concept: the Bible was written to reveal truths about the way God interacts with humanity--not history, not predictions of future cataclysms, and so on. The books of the Bible are written in literary forms, some of which we recognize, most of which...more