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By John Barton

This number of John Barton's paintings engages with present obstacle over the biblical canon, in either historic and theological facets; with literary analyzing of the Bible and present literary concept because it bears on religious study; and with the theological interpreting and use of the biblical textual content. John Barton's detailed writing displays a dedication to a 'liberal' method of the Bible, which locations a excessive price on conventional biblical feedback and likewise seeks to teach how evocative and entire of perception the biblical texts are and the way they could give a contribution to fashionable theological issues. This useful choice of released writings through one of many prime professionals on biblical textual content and canon, additionally comprises new essays and editorial introductions from the writer.

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Extra info for The Old Testament: Canon, Literature and Theology

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The prophetic books of the Old Testament are often rather random collections of fragments, and – despite the claims made by proponents of ‘canonical’ reading – the act of canonization does not tell us how to give them a unity or synthetic reading, even if it may be thought to imply that that is what we are to do. There are, in fact, several ways of reading these books that respect the unity they were felt to have, which differ according to where they allow the emphasis to fall as among the narrative, predictive and moral elements all prophetic books contain.

I Childs seems to accept that there are four approaches to a text that at least move in the same general direction as his canonical approach, though none of them is identical with it. These are reception history, traditio-historical criticism, redaction criticism and what may be called ‘final form’ exegesis. I shall examine each of these in turn as it bears on the Book of the Twelve, and try to indicate in each case how and why, according to Childs’s criteria, it falls short of being identical with the canonical approach.

It has happened to the prophetic corpus as a whole. Just as the mixture of narrative and prediction in the Pentateuch has become the eternal Torah, so the mixture of narrative and prediction in the former and latter prophets has become an expression of the eternal shape of God’s purposes for his people: a pattern of his chastisement and consolation. And a prophetic book, I am suggesting, is a book whose form fits this specification: a book that in some combination or other includes the elements of narrative, prediction and moral concern that is found in these books – provided always that the narrative is both about, and apparently written during, the classical prophetic period.

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