Poland, Lynn M., Literary Criticism and Biblical Hermeneutics.

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  • Lynn Poland's book, originally presented as her doctoral thesis, is an attentive and careful study in critical history, tracing an arc from Bultmann to Ricoeur via the New Critics. The proliferation of literary criticism in recent biblical studies conflicts inevitably with a kerygma whose literary expression, for example, in the Gospels, has to be demythologized, exposed as a \"camouflage\" (p. 41) for a truth that is beyond language and that has no objective content. Yet the acquisition of ineffable knowledge is also part of the New Critical pro- gram; the close reading of the text reveals a truth that transcends its ostensible content and differs from scientific interpretations of reality. Thus, for critics who are heirs both to the Bultmannian tradition and to New Criticism, there are a number of problems: (1) Does sacred literature require special herme- neutic rules? Does its mystery differ from the mystery of any poem? (2) Is the idea of the Bible as literature--that is, the sacred language--implicitly sub- verted by the gospel? (3) What is the focus of critical attention? For Bultmann, it is both the historical intention of the work, recovered, for example, by form- criticism, and the existential response; for the literary critic, it is the text itself, shaped no doubt by the community, but nevertheless autonomous. The crisis of authority in contemporary literary criticism would render the discussion still more fraught since it puts into question both the autonomy of the literary work and its transcendent meaning. Poland only just touches on these issues, which simplifies her task and illustrates its major limitation: that the criticisms she examines are but one element

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    Attribution 4.0 International
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    • Landy, F., (1986). Poland, Lynn M., Literary Criticism and Biblical Hermeneutics. . Journal of Religion , 66(4), 466-468.
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