History, Prophecy, Literature - Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference and What it Means for Faith Today
More people read the Bible than any other book and, as Steven McKenzie shows in this provocative volume, most of us misread it. McKenzie argues that to comprehend the Bible we must grasp the intentions of the biblical authors themselves--what sort of texts they thought they were writing and how they would have been understood by their contemporaries. McKenzie examines several genres that are typically misunderstood, offering careful readings of specific texts to show how the confusion arises, and how knowing the genre produces a correct reading. The book of Jonah, for example, offers many clues that it is meant as a humorous satire, not a straight-faced historical account of a man who was swallowed by a fish. Likewise, the very names "Adam" (man) and "Eve" (life) tell us that these are not historical characters, but figures who symbolize human origins. For anyone who takes reading the Bible seriously and who wants to get it right, this book will be enlightening.
INTRODUCTION; JONAH AND GENRE; CHAPTER ONE; NOT EXACTLY AS IT HAPPENED; HISTORIOGRAPHY IN THE BIBLE; CHAPTER TWO; FORTHTELLING, NOT FORETELLING; BIBLICAL PROPHECY; CHAPTER THREE; LIFE'S REAL QUESTIONS; WISDOM LITERATURE IN THE BIBLE; CHAPTER FOUR; NOT THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT; APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE IN THE BIBLE; CHAPTER FIVE; ISSUES IN THE CHURCHES; THE LETTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX