At times we are not sufficiently aware of how much the literary form of a book or text affects its meaning. We read biblical books and passages assuming that we can read them the same way that we read modern literature.
The word Bible, derived from the Latin word biblia, means "little books." Though containing similar themes, the little books of the Old and New Testament can be divided into several subgroups that display a variety of literary forms or genres. The Old Testament consists of ancient historical writings (the Pentateuch, the Deuteronomistic History, and the Chronicler's History), short stories (Ruth, Esther), prophetic literature (Major and Minor Prophets), wisdom literature (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes), poetry (Psalms, Song of Songs, Lamentations), and apocalyptic literature (Daniel). The New Testament consists of Gospels (or ancient biographies), letters, ancient history (Acts), and apocalyptic literature (Revelation). Each book includes sections that display additional genres. Such classifications can immensely enrich our understanding of these books, especially when we know that ancient writers were very much concerned to persuade their audiences to act in specific ways.
This session will provide participants the opportunity to acquire an awareness and an understanding of some of the ancient reading conventions needed for comprehending biblical passages and books.