- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (November 11, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156027801
- ISBN-13: 978-0156027809
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great Code: The Bible and Literature 1st Edition
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I have always thought that the Bible should come with an instruction book. This book by Northrop Frye, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature, is that book. Of course, I am half-jesting about the need for such a book. But, half-jesting means half-not-jesting.
The vogue of the New Atheists has come and gone, but the effects of their onslaught on religious belief stretch far and wide. Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins would do well to consult Prof. Frye's erudite exposition of the construction, conventions, and literary dimensions of the text they presume to know so well and deride so thoroughly. The unsophisticated approach taken by the New Atheists is really a ruse to throw everything into the same kettle and set it to boiling. Little else is accomplished with their faux explication.
Frye shows how correctly to order the pieces that make up the whole and demonstrates the relationships between and among these component pieces.
Northrop Frye was arguably the greatest literary critic of the 20th century. There are hints in this work of seeds of responses to New Historicism, reader response, and even deconstructive approaches to the Bible in the conclusion. It strikes me as funny that the intellectuals I mentioned above steer far clear of any new literary analysis approach to the Bible. Frye does not develop his sprouts of ideas, but I see hints that might prove interesting to pursue.
Anyone who is interested in figuring out what the Bible is doing would certainly be better served reading Northrop Frye than listening to most preachers or Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins and Dennett.
What has always fascinated me about Frye is his incredible skill in systematizing his ideas and clearly communicating the structure of his ideas. One chart or table of Frye's is worth hundreds of pages of the continuous prose of many other critics. Immanent in this work, and peeking through or penetrating this world's dimensions, is a radical reconfiguration of what it means to be human and why so many brilliant, thoughtful people believe in Jesus and his revolutionary teachings and ethos.
This book is provocative without trying to be and fascinating without attitude. Just watching Professor Frye laying out his argument, developing the logical connections that fuse the Bible into unity is a lesson in language, reasoning and intellectual discipline. These are all in short supply. If you read it, you will be glad you did.