Chance or Providence?

Feb 13, 13 • Gapping, Genesis, Narrative, Ruth3 CommentsRead More »

Often in biblical narrative things “just seem to happen”, rather like they do in our lives πŸ˜‰ But are such “happenings” chance or divine providence at work? We’ll try to decide, using Gen 37:12ff. (read with Gen 39) and Ruth 2 as examples.


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3 Responses to Chance or Providence?

  1. The accounts of Joseph and Ruth you bring up here do appear to support the premise you set forth. It will be interesting to test it out on other accounts as well.
    There has been far too little exploring into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ workings of biblical narrative, and I’m glad you are engaged in doing so. My explorations have been into the workings of ‘point-of-view crafting’ in the stories of the Bible, and I have come across a fascinating phenomenon. It would appear that biblical storytellers are able to lead their readers into empathizing with particular characters simply through manipulating point of view in certain ways. Think of the implications of this. If readers are empathizing with a character, they will be inclined to approve of whatever the character does, and so, point-of-view crafting qualifies as a source of evaluative guidance that biblical storytellers provide for their readers!

  2. tim says:

    Gary, thanks for the comment, and the link to the Perspective Criticism website. It is really interesting to begin reading what you guys are doing. At a quick look (BTW the link in your sidebar to “What Luke 24:51 is NOT trying to depict” is broken πŸ™ there seem to be already some very useful extensions to the early work on PoV in the Hebrew Bible, by Meir Sternberg, Robert Alter, Adele Berlin and Simon Bar Efrat. In particular I noted your distinction between subjective and objective experience of a character. This feels (intuitively) right, and as you point out Wayne Booth identified it in modern novels, I’ll be interested to see how it works more widely in BN.