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The "music" of the prophetic literature is symphonically complex. Historical-critical and literary-critical readers are equipped only to recognize plainsong. Biddle proposes that we listen to the full symphonic polyphony of the prophetic voices. He shows us how by rereading Jeremiah.
Since the appearance of its first edition in 1901, Gunkel's commentary on Genesis has been one of the most influential standards in the field. Remarkably, only the introduction has been translated into English (under the title The Legends of Genesis). Gunkel wrote the introduction last as a summary of the results of the detailed study contained in the commentary. As a consequence of this partial availability in English, many students of Genesis know Gunkel's work only through the summary or secondary literature.
The commentary, itself, however, is the more remarkable effort. In it Gunkel exhibits a truly astonishing breadth of learning, attention to detail, and literary sensitivity. His familiarity with the religious and folk literatures of the world, especially of the Ancient Near East, provides the context into which he sought to situate Israelite religion and literature. Although he employed source- and form-critical methods, he brought a fine literary and cultural sensitivity to bear on the question of the interpretation of the text in its final form. In fact, many who now criticize late 19th- and early 20th-century scholarship for its atomism and aridity (Gunkel, himself, expressed an awareness of these dangers) will be surprised to find Gunkel's literary reading of Genesis and his engagement with the text inferior to none based on modern approaches.
Many of the critical issues with which Gunkel grappled in this commentary continue to commend the attention of Genesis scholarship: the nature of patriarchal religion, the interrelationship between documentary source, oral tradition, and editorial activity, the antiquity of Israel's eschatological hope, and much more.
Thetranslation make this classic available in English for the first time.
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