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The New Testament As Literature

The New Testament As Literature

ISBN 9780195300208
Publication Date
Publisher Oxford University Press
Author(s)
Overview
The words, phrases, and stories of the New Testament permeate the English language, often to the point where they are part of the vernacular. When people call a citizen a Good Samaritan or advise a friend, “You will reap what you sow,” they illustrate the pervasive influence of New Testament texts. This relatively small group of twenty-seven books, written during the height of the Roman Empire, helped create and sustain a religion. But they also have contributed to larger cultural dynamics of the West, above and beyond particular religious expressions. Looking at the New Testament through a very particular lens, that of literary study, Keefer raises questions about the language and crafting of this classic text. A literary approach to the New Testament assumes that the documents found here not only convey ideas but also entertain, prod, puzzle and delight audiences. Even for readers not religiously bound to the New Testament, the artistry of the New Testament can prove engaging and provocative. Reading the New Testament as literature brings to light the dynamics of this engagement. Whereas religious interpreters of these scriptures, driven by a desire to find moral or theological content, might overlook the aesthetic experience of the reader, literary interpretation foregrounds this experience.   
Overview
The words, phrases, and stories of the New Testament permeate the English language, often to the point where they are part of the vernacular. When people call a citizen a Good Samaritan or advise a friend, “You will reap what you sow,” they illustrate the pervasive influence of New Testament texts. This relatively small group of twenty-seven books, written during the height of the Roman Empire, helped create and sustain a religion. But they also have contributed to larger cultural dynamics of the West, above and beyond particular religious expressions. Looking at the New Testament through a very particular lens, that of literary study, Keefer raises questions about the language and crafting of this classic text. A literary approach to the New Testament assumes that the documents found here not only convey ideas but also entertain, prod, puzzle and delight audiences. Even for readers not religiously bound to the New Testament, the artistry of the New Testament can prove engaging and provocative. Reading the New Testament as literature brings to light the dynamics of this engagement. Whereas religious interpreters of these scriptures, driven by a desire to find moral or theological content, might overlook the aesthetic experience of the reader, literary interpretation foregrounds this experience.   

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