Narrative criticism, which involves the application of literary critical methods to the study of Scripture, is a promising hermeneutical approach. Surprisingly, however, little has been written that surveys the field for a broader audience. James Resseguie's primer admirably fills that gap.
Readers will discover here a particularly well-balanced introduction to the subject. For those concerned with theoretical issues, there is a thorough survey of methodology, critical concepts, and the significance of literary devices. Numerous examples illustrate the fruitfulness of literary approaches for interpreting particular texts.
Following an introduction that identifies the methods of narrative criticism and distinguishes them from other hermeneutical approaches, Resseguie devotes chapters to the principal elements of narrative: setting, point of view, character, rhetoric, plot, and reader. For each, he offers practical examples of how a "close reading" of the text can discover important nuances and insights.
Resseguie points out that narrative criticism has the advantage of dealing with the text as a self-contained unit, avoiding the fragmentation often produced by other methodologies. His accessible introduction is ideal for seminarians, M.A. students, upper-divisional undergraduates, and pastors who want to learn how narrative interpretation can open up the New Testament texts.