Literary Genres - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Literary Genres

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  1. Literary Genres Of the Torah

  2. A story line • An unidentified narrator • Torah has multiple narrators because of multiple authors • Narration advanced with dialogue and speeches • For example, Yahweh’s private conversations with Moses Narrative

  3. Torah contains mythological motifs • Not extended myths like Gilgamesh • “myth refers to traditional narratives about events in the remote and unrepeatable past, typically involving tales of creation, human origins, or . . . Divine-human relationships. Myth

  4. Does “myth” = falsehood? • Myths can be “true” in a more profound way • Not associated with a literal fact • For the Genesis authors, the six-day creation account served primarily as a means to express their concept of a monotheistic cosmos. Myth, cont

  5. Priestly “P” contribution • Provides continuity • In Torah the genealogies are in a fairly rigid form of age, birth order, etc, of sons • They trace an unbroken line from Adam to Abraham Genealogies


  6. Stories that explain the cause or origin of some natural phenomenon, social custom, or religious ritual • For example, Lot’s wife being changed into a pillar of salt accounts for the unusual salt formations bordering the Dead Sea Etiology

  7. Divine speeches in which Yahweh or El Shaddai promises Canaan to Abraham’s descendants • Genesis authors show that Israel’s right to possess the area was part of God’s plan from the beginning Etiology, cont

  8. One of the Torah’s oldest methods • Characterizes nomadic societies • Shows point of departure, destination, specific place names or geographical features • Is related to the journey motif • For example, Moses at Mount Sinai Itinerary

  9. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the people of Israel are almost constantly on the move traveling to the Promised Land • The metaphor of homeless wanderers ever seeking a permanent resting place dominates the Torah story of Israel’s early life. Itinerary, cont

  10. Serves to validate centers of worship • Jacob erects a monument and names it “Bethel” or House of God to commemorate his experience of his visionary dream of ascending and descending divinities. • Mirrors worship practices of other cults Cult Legends

  11. Multiple legal instructions indicate multiple authors • And multiple purposes • The codes demonstrate the complex nature of the divine-human relationship • In its final form, the Torah incorporates at least five originally separate bodies of law as well as the ten commandments Legal Codes