This valuable volume presents the first widely accessible description of the principles and procedures of narrative criticism written for students and pastors to use in their own exegesis. With great clarity, Powell outlines the principles and procedures that narrative critics follow in exegesis of gospel texts and explains concepts such as point of view, narration, irony, and symbolism. Chapters are devoted to each of the three principal elements of narrative—events, characters, and settings—and case studies are provided to illustrate how the method is applied in each instance. The book concludes with an honest appraisal of the contribution that narrative criticism makes to biblical studies, a consideration of objections that have been raised against the use of this method, and a discussion of the hermeneutical implications this method raises for the church.
“The goal of narrative criticism is to read the text as the implied reader.” (Page 20)
“Literary critics today prefer to speak of an implied author, who is reconstructed by the reader from the narrative.16” (Page 5)
“This does not mean that literary critics question the legitimacy of historical inquiry. It should not be assumed that they naively accept whatever they read as perfectly historical or that they view the Bible as a collection of tales with little basis in reality. Rather, these critics bracket out questions of historicity in order to concentrate on the nature of the text as literature. They do not deny that biblical narratives may also serve a referential function or that it may be rewarding to study them in that regard as well.” (Page 8)
“Typological references, finally, indicate the kind of time within which an action transpires” (Page 73)
“Narrative criticism rejects or ignores the historical witness of the Gospels” (Page 96)