Item description for Making Sense of the Bible: Literary Type As an Approach to Understanding by Marshall D. Johnson...
Overview Focusing on the eight major literary forms in the Bible--wisdom literature, liturgical materials, quasi-historical material, prophetic writings, collections of laws and precepts, apocalyptic literature, letters, and Gospels--Johnson describes each form's central features to give readers a sense of what to expect from each and how to approach it.
Publishers Description No book in the Western world has evoked more diverse interpretations than the Bible. One reason for this multiplicity of interpretation is the vast historical gap lying between the writing of the Scriptures and our own time. Can ordinary persons today really make sense of this body of ancient literature? In Making Sense of the Bible Marshall Johnson gives readers the tools needed to better understand Scripture by teaching them to recognize and handle the diverse kinds of literature that make up the Bible. Focusing on the eight major literary forms in the Bible - wisdom literature, liturgical materials, quasi-historical material, prophetic writings, collections of laws and precepts, apocalyptic literature, letters, and Gospels - Johnson describes each form's central features and gives readers a sense of what to expect from each literary form and how to approach it. In addition, helpful appendixes discuss the forms of ancient Hebrew poetry, highlight the major literary types in biblical books, and provide suggestions for further reading. For inquisitive laypeople or students in search of the original meaning of the Bible, this book provides a thoughtful, concise, and nonsectarian introduction.
Citations And Professional Reviews Making Sense of the Bible: Literary Type As an Approach to Understanding by Marshall D. Johnson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 01/01/2002 page 112
Choice - 10/01/2002 page 296
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.49" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2002
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN 0802849199 ISBN13 9780802849199
Availability 0 units.
More About Marshall D. Johnson
Marshall D. Johnson is the former Director of Fortress Press (1990-1997). His recent book Making Sense of the Bible: Literary Type as an Approach to Understanding (Eerdmans, 2002) was selected as one of Choice s Outstanding Academic Books for 2002.
Marshall D. Johnson currently resides in Minneapolis.
Reviews - What do customers think about Making Sense of the Bible: Literary Type As an Approach to Understanding?
Making Sense of the Bible Jul 10, 2006
Making Sense of the Bible has taught me how to recognize diverse kinds of literature that make up the Holy Bible.
A Book that Makes Sense Dec 10, 2002
Frank Kermode once remarked that the literary impulse in the Bible was quite as powerful as the religious. At the very least, they are inextricable. And yet, despite the significance of the literary impulse in making sense of Scripture, study of literary typology and analysis of literary form have been largely reserved to the scholarly realm.
Into this void comes Marshall Johnson's useful and knowledgeable book. Marshall introduces general readers to the major types of biblical literature -- wisdom literature, the poetry of worship, historical narrative, prophetic writings, legal collections, apocalyptic literature, letters, and the Gospels. In successive chapters, he fully delineates each type, reviews its background, discusses its distinctive features, explicates several major examples, and includes a final section of how to "read" the particular form. Johnson accomplishes all this in clear, readable, and non-technical prose.
As is often the case with books I wish I had written myself, I have some questions about several of Johnson's choices. For instance, is the Book of Job truly an example of "wisdom literature" or should it be treated separately as a unique type of biblical literature, perhaps as a poetic dialogue? Can Isaiah, a complex blend of historical experience and poetic concerns, be as easily pigeonholed into the category of "prophetic literature" as Marshall believes?
But these are mere quibbles. Johnson's knowledge of the Bible is voluminous, his theology is mainstream, and his perceptions are telling. His overarching goals are to help readers grasp the shape of the Bible as a whole and to become self-aware in their dialogue with the text. To this end, Marshall D. Johnson has written an excellent book, one which I strongly recommend. The highest accolade I can give "Making Sense of the Bible" is that, if I were still teaching my course on "The Bible and Literature" at Drexel University, I'd use it as a textbook.