Undercurrents In Jonah -- By: James E. Robson
TynBull 64:2 (2013) p. 189
Undercurrents In Jonah
On the surface, the book of Jonah is marked by a certain literary simplicity and apparent artlessness. This is evident in at least three ways: its style, with few adjectives, action-oriented narrative, repetition of words and phrases, sound-plays and personifications; its plot, with extreme scenarios and a binary view of the world; its structure, with significant substantial correspondence. Yet it is often in the very places of apparent artlessness that there are hidden depths. A survey of these undercurrents suggests that the book of Jonah is best understood as an engaging exploration of how credal confessions relate to the complexities of lived experience.
Phyllis Trible wrote in
TynBull 64:2 (2013) p. 190
Reading through those lenses, ‘its very naivety, the excess of its naivety, is what invites more thoughtful readings, and entices the reader into a participatory scrutiny of its hidden depths’.5 For Clines, this meant something close to, as he puts it, the ‘naivety of the prologue deconstructing itself’.
In her study in Job, Contest in Moral Imaginations, Carol Newsom notes the recent penchant for seeing the prologue of Job as ‘slyly subversive’, and suggests that it arises because of the postmodern dislike for authoritarian moral discourse. Such discourse privileges a view of truth that is unitary and absolute, respects figures of authority as ‘the voice of truth’, privileges principle above situation and ‘prizes coherency’. While not denying the validity of such readings, she insists that it is also possible to read J...
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