How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature--Why Modern Readers Need to Know the…

Paperback | April 13, 2009

bySteven L. McKenzie

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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 andhow 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, offersmany 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 takesreading the Bible seriously and who wants to get it right, this book will be enlightening.

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From the Publisher

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 andhow they would have been understood by their ...

Steven McKenzie is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.1 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:April 13, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195383303

ISBN - 13:9780195383300

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Table of Contents

IntroductionJonah and Genre1. Not Exactly as it HappenedHistoriography in the Bible2. Forthtelling, Not ForetellingBiblical Prophecy3. Life's Real QuestionsWisdom Literature in the Bible4. Not the End of the World as We Know itApocalyptic Literature in the Bible5. Issues in the ChurchesThe Letters of the New TestamentNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"In order to determine what the Bible means, we must first determine the intentions of its authors, intentions expressed in the literary genres they used. In his examination of several genres used in the Bible, McKenzie demonstrates through detailed analysis how the identification of genre isas necessary for the understanding of biblical literature as it is of any literature. An important and insightful book." --Michael D. Coogan, editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Third Edition, and The Oxford History of the Biblical World