OT (Made Simple): Something About Narrative 2

This post is a continuation of where we stopped from in Something About Narrative 1. Lets move on in our quest in gaining some understanding about the OT, namely in understanding the bulk of it’s literary form; narratives.

In the bible there are 3 levels of narratives:

1. Metanarrative– grand overview/ story otherwise known as “story of redemption” or “redemptive history”.

Key aspects of the biblical metanarrative are:

  • Creation
  • Fall
  • Power and effects of Sin
  • Need for Redemption
  • Christ’s incarnation and sacrifice

2. Story of Israel– Story of God’s Redeeming People for his Name

Key aspects of the Story of Israel:

  • Call of Abraham
  • Establish Abraham lineage through patriarch
  • Israel enslaved in Egypt
  • God delivers: the exodus
  • Covenant at Sinai
  • Conquest of promise land of Canaan
  • Israel’s sin and disobedience/ disloyalty
  • God’s patience, protection and plea with them
  • Destruction of Israel and Judah in Exile
  • Restoration of Holy people after Exile

3. Individual Narratives (wiki stories to borrow Scot McKnight’s designation)– Stories within the overarching 1 & 2

  • Some examples of this: Stories of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph

Now before I end this post, let address what narratives are not…

  • …allegories/ stories filled with hidden meaning
  • …intended to teach moral lessons

After stating the second one above though the bible (our focus is on the OT) does teach implicitly when we read a certain narrative of the explicit revelation of God’s will for us in terms of moral conduct for example but not in a systematic way though. One cannot simply conjure up from a text (a passage) and say this passage speaks exhaustively about a certain subject.

4 thoughts on “OT (Made Simple): Something About Narrative 2

  1. Great follow up post. I would say a couple of things that really dont make a big difference at all.

    1. I dont like to use the language of “metanarrative” unless we make sure to proclaim it’s non-modernness. I am more comfortable with saying non-modern meta-narrative or Big story or Grand Story or Story of God. This is simply a semantics issue and not too relevant.

    2. I agree with your description of the biblical story, however I prefer Tom Wright’s 5 act version: Creation, “fall”, Israel, Christ, Church (early church — consummation of the cosmos).

    Otherwise my friend I really enjoy your insights. Good stuff! BTW – still jealous of the site! ha

  2. Kurt,

    On the metanarrative thing, i remembered your article on the Ooze where you stressed on that. I’m quite comfortable with the other non-modern meta-narrative that you mentioned there. I would agree with you here. But as for context, i don’t think people here see the term as an issue. Some who are into discussions on postmodernism and the bible might understand but for general readers it is not a problem. For the post i just wanted to address stuff in seminary so hopefully that would lead to more technical issues as well…that is my hope!

    On the second point…you caught me sleeping there. How could i let Wright’s description slip me. I would have to add that in another post! Wright to my assumption is always right.

    Thanks for the ‘jealous’ comment there, but seriously this is something new. For all the transitions this may be the start of something!


  3. I agree with where you are coming on metanarrative stuff… I am not to worried about it myself although it can become an issue with skeptical postmodern types, i get what you are saying. Actually, Chis Wright in The Mission of God uses metanarrative language and it is simply a semantics game i play most of the time 🙂

    Wright is right 🙂

    Very exciting to see your many facetted transitions happening in your life!

  4. I agree with you, it is surely a semantics thing. I think this is where we have to use wisdom. And on transitions, yes they are a pain but it’s really a impregnating experience we all go through in life.

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