Learning to Value the Literary Dimension of the Bible

“The events as told in the Scriptures have . . . a value as literature.  They tell of mankind’s experience at its most moving and most memorable in words that go beyond mere chronicle: words that strike the heart and light up the vision.” — Paul Roche, The Bible’s Greatest Stories

Given that the Bible is such a unique amalgam of literature, religion, and history, what does it mean to take a literary approach to the book?  It is all too easy to pay lip service to the idea that the Bible is literature and then read it as though it were a history or theology book.  To read and study the Bible as literature means to apply the literary criteria that make the Bible literature.  How can we do this?  By asking and answering literary questions of the text, suhc as these:

  1. What recognizable human experiences are portrayed in this text?
  2. What interpretive angle does the author impose on the experiences that are portrayed?
  3. What genre or genres are present that can guide our encounter with the text?

What element of artistic form and style are present in the text?