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For anyone who is not only into textual criticism, but who also writes or communicates, Anatomy of Criticism is a really fascinating book. The four essays attempt to build a case for a standard approach to literature.  And while they don’t really fulfill the goal on this first pass (e.g., the presentation of dianoia could use a little more fleshing out), this effort does provide a basis for further conversation on the subject.

This really is not about textual criticism as we think of it with regards to Biblical documents.  There are subject we cover that they do not, and vice-versa.  This is about the character of the literature.  And this feature makes it useful for evaluating the quality of a translation.  For instance, the analysis of the prose structure of the KJV translation adds to one’s understanding of the historic acceptance of the beauty of the language.

One shortcoming in the authors’ understanding of the Bible is their persistent discussion of apocalypse and failure to discuss eschatos — the end product, the goals of the authors.  Still, though, the authors do provide some literary comparisons that are useful.  These are seen in the analysis of Job and of Pilgrim’s Progress, along with other works that borrow from Biblical themes.  They provide some context to help enrich one’s understanding of the writer’s framing of the story.

So, while the authors clearly do not hold the Bible with the same esteem as a Christian would, they do treat it with literary respect and so provide some useful tools and perspectives to enhance one’s reading.

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