Fortress Press

What Is Narrative Criticism?

What Is Narrative Criticism?

Mark Allan Powell (Author)


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The first nontechnical description of the principles and procedures of narrative criticism. Written for students' and pastors' 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, 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.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800604738
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 144
  • Publication Date January 1, 1991

Table of Contents

Editor's Foreword

1. Scripture as Story
The Bible and Literary Criticism
Literary Criticism and Historical Criticism

2. Ways of Reading
Rhetorical Criticism
Reader-Response Criticism
Narrative Criticism

3. Story and Discourse
Point of View
Symbolism and Irony
Narrative Patterns

4. Events
A Narrative Understanding of Events
Case Study: The Plot of Matthew

5. Characters
A Narrative Understanding of Characters
Case Study: The Religious Leaders in the Synoptic Gospels

6. Settings
A Narrative Understanding of Settings
Case Study: Settings in the Gospel of Mark

7. Story as Scripture
The Benefits of Narrative Criticism
Objections to Narrative Criticism
An Expanded Hermeneutic

Appendix: Using Narrative Criticism in Exegesis



For Further Reading

Part 1: Secular Literary Theory
Part 2: Literary Criticism and Biblical Narrative