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The Creation of History in Ancient Israel Paperback – June 25, 1998
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About the Author
books and co-editor of The Jewish Study Bible.
Top Customer Reviews
The author begins with a strong survey of the history of historical criticism, followed by a presentation of what he believes to be the "four central factors responsible for the production of ancient Israelite biblical texts:" the use of typologies, the interpretation of earlier texts, literary shaping, and ideological influence. During an introductory discussion of `history,' `ideology,' and `literature,' Brettler suggests that what has classically been understood as `history' should actually be called `historiography' or `history writing,' while history should be understood simply as, "a narrative that presents a past." Along the same lines, `ideology' is best considered "a specific set of beliefs," which Brettler differentiates from `propaganda,' which is the method used to disseminate those beliefs. Finally, the author discards the word `literature' as an accurate description of the biblical text, arguing that "literary works are determined by the community, not by their authors." Therefore since the author did not consider his work to be literature, but rather a history, we too should refrain from calling the narrative `literature.' Brettler does concede that there are various rhetorical or literary devices and genres employed within the biblical text, but since the author employed these devices with the intention of writing a narrative history, we too should refrain from referring to the results of his literary endeavors as `literature.' This is a fine hair to split and will certainly be criticized by future respondents.Read more ›