Saturday, September 26, 2015

What I've Been Reading

An update on what I've read recently and what I'm reading:

Narrative Criticism and Literary Criticism

I read Mark as Story earlier this year and it has changed everything about the way I read the Gospels. I cannot overstate the effect this has had on me. I know what I want to write on now. I know what I want to do with my hopeful career in NT studies.

Mark as Story: Retrospect and Prospect is a book I'm reading currently. It's an edited volume of articles by top scholars in the field talking about the effect Mark as Story has had and the future of Markan Narrative Criticism. It is edited by a friend of mine and I recommend it most highly.

A terrible cover. A wonderful book. Culpepper's Anatomy is the Johannine Mark as Story. I read this shortly before MaS but it did not have quite the same effect on me as MaS. Written after MaS, Anatomy takes readers through the basic literary design (plot, characters/characterization, implied reader, etc.) of the Fourth Gospel. I'm inclined to think I liked it less than MaS merely because I like the Gospel of John less. Nevertheless it is a great book and the second of its kind.

Moore's book is inferior to the three listed above because it is more of a secondary text. It summarizes what people are saying about literary criticism and the gospels, but for what it does it is a great book. Half the book is dedicated to Narrative Criticism and the other half is dedicated specifically to Reader-Response criticism and gospel criticism as reading. It's great but it's not the first place I would send someone for Narrative Criticism, although there are advantages it has as an introduction to various literary critical approaches.

As an introduction to Narrative Criticism, this book is wonderful. The Guides to Biblical Scholarship series by Fortress is to die for, and this book is no exception. Powell is one of the premier narrative critics today and a respected NT scholar outside of this field of criticism as well. This book was well written, short yet comprehensive, and an excellent introduction especially for the beginner.

Resseguie is the highest recommended volume on my list of introductions to Narrative Criticism. He includes Acts and, strangely, Revelation while most scholars focus only on the Gospels. He also provides many more sources for specific areas of NT criticism in the bibliography which is designed to show beginners where to go for almost every major book that is relevant to the conversation. For example, under the heading "Narrative Theory" he has a list of sixteen major volumes which deal with that topic. Under "Characterization in Biblical Literature" he has twelve volumes. This makes the book invaluable as an introduction. It does what it sets out to do and succeeds where others have not by providing specified bibliographic material to help the reader ease her way into the field. Recommended most highly.

Studies in the New Testament
Among others, I'm reading (by "am reading" I mean "have read one and am almost done with the other") two books primarily.

I'm a huge Richard Hays fan. He's why I came to Duke. His absence was/is devastating to me, but his will to continue publishing and writing even while suffering through treatments is inspiring. RB tracks the development of Christology in the four Gospels through their figurative use of the OT. Clocking in at just over 120 pages, iut's a delightful book which one can complete over a weekend. The one drawback is that it contains endnotes. I hate endnotes. But I love Hays. Read the book.

American dissertations are frustrating because, as my friend Drew said it well, they are like chapters thrown together rather than an actual book. I tend to agree. However, Rowe's ENC is not so bad at this as many other dissertations I've read but it still has this problem. Nevertheless, it is an engaging text. It is quite specialized and no easy read, but it is a rewarding volume. I judge a book by whether I am better for having read it, and I feel I am much better off for having read it. Perhaps being written under the supervision of Hays had something to do with it, but there was just something about the book that I couldn't quite point out that was just delightful. What's shocking about this book is the fact that it was published less than 10 years ago and is an original study on the use of κύριος in Luke. How had this not been written yet?? Shocking. Fantastic volume. Argues for a much higher Christology in Luke than many may suppose. It's an excellent volume.

I'll update again this soon to put on record all of the books I'm reading for class.* Until then, thanks for reading.

*Update: Sorry this never happened. And won't happen. I just don't have the time. But I put up a big ol' list here, listing most of my summer reading.

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