PG 495: Exploring Biblical Narratives

Module Level

9 /10 PhD / MTh / STL

Time Allowance

Online assignments and 4 seminar days on campus 11/01/21-14/01/21. Beginning on Monday 11th January at 9:45am to 12:45pm


Preparatory Assignments (2,000 words in toto) 30%; In-course Seminar Presentation 20%; Final Synthesis Paper (5,000 words) 50%

Module Aims

This seminar course, an introduction to narrative criticism, examines key concepts and tools of narrative methodology and showcases their use in the narrative analysis of a selection of biblical narratives. The seminar will examine, character, plot, point of view, the importance of time, order and gaps, and the levels of narration.

Learning Outcomes

  • to identify and describe the basic tools of narrative criticism
  • to employ the tools in the analysis of a wide variety of biblical texts
  • to assess the diverse approaches of scholars within the field of narrative criticism
  • to situate and integrate the tools of narrative criticism with other exegetical methodologies


  • Marguerat, Daniel and Yvan Bourquin. How to Read Bible Stories: An Introduction to Narrative Criticism. Translated by John Bowden. London: SCM Press, 1999.
  • Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith. Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics. London: Methuen, 1983. Repr., London: Routledge, 2002.
  • Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative. Basic Books, 1981.
  • __________. The Art of Biblical Poetry. Basic Books, 1985
  • Amit, Yairah. Reading Biblical Narratives: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 2002.
  • Bal, Mieke and Christine van Boheemen. Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. Fourth Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017.
  • Bar-Efrat, Shimon. Narrative Art in the Bible. 2nd ed. London: T&T Clark, 2004. Repr. 2008.
  • Berlin, Adele. Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbraums, 1994.
  • Bennema, Cornelis. A Theory of Character in New Testament Narrative. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2014.
  • Bosworth. David A. The story within a story in Biblical Hebrew narrative. CBQMS 45. Washington (D.C.): Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2008.
  • Chatman, Seymour. Story and Discourse. Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 1978.
  • Culpepper, R. Alan. Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983.
  • Fokkelman, J. P., and Ineke Smit. Reading Biblical Narrative: An Introductory Guide. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.
  • Fowler, Robert. Let the Reader Understand. Reader-Response Criticism and the Gospel of Mark. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996.
  • Genette, Gerard. Narrative Discourse. Oxford: Blackwell, 1980.
  • Gunn, D. M., and Danna Nolan Fewell. Narrative in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Iverson, Kelly R. and Christopher W. Skinner, eds. Mark as Story: Retrospect and Prospect. SBL Resources for Biblical Study 65. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011.
  • Malbon, Elizabeth Struthers. Mark’s Jesus. Characterisation as Narrative Christology. Waco, TX: Baylor, 2009.
  • Merenlahti, Petri. Poetics for the Gospels? Rethinking Narrative Criticism. Studies of the New Testament and its World. London: T&T Clark, 2002.
  • Perry, Menakhem. “Literary Dynamics: How the Order of a Text Creates its Meanings: with an analysis of Faulkner's ‘A Rose for Emily’.” Poetics Today 1 (1979): 35.
  • ___________ and Meir Sternberg. “The King through Ironic Eyes: Biblical Narrative and the Literary Reading Process.” Poetics Today 7 (1986) 275-322. Revision of Hebrew article published in Hasifrut 1 (1968) 262-91.
  • Schneiders, Sandra M. Jesus Risen in our Midst: Essays on the Resurrection of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2013.
  • Schipper Jeremy. Parables and conflict in the Hebrew Bible. Cambridge; New York; Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Ska, Jean-Louis. “Our Fathers Have Told Us”: Introduction to the Analysis of Hebrew Narratives. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 2000.
  • Sternberg, Meir. The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press 1985.
  • Yamasaki, Gary. Insights from Filmmaking for Analyzing Biblical Narrative. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2016.
  • ___________. Perspective criticism: Point of view and evaluative guidance in Biblical narrative. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012.


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