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Short notice: How We Read the Bible: A guide to scripture’s style and meaning by Karolien Vermeulen and Elizabeth R. Hayes

21 October 2022

THE authors of How We Read the Bible: A guide to scripture’s style and meaning (Eerdmans, £19.99 (£18); 978-0-8028-7809-0), two scholars, Karolien Vermeulen and Elizabeth R. Hayes, offer explanations of 12 stylistic elements discussed in recent biblical studies. The authors posit that literary approaches introduced in the 1970s and 1980s omitted consideration of an important player: the reader.

So, they draw on research in cognitive stylistics, which pays attention to what happens in the mind in the reading of a text, and sheds light on the variety of interpretation which results from differences between readers and their contexts. The aim is to make the reader more self-aware (“The first subject for the interpretation of the Bible is not the Bible, but the interpreter,” the authors say, quoting Craig C. Broyles) and better equipped to encounter scripture. The technical side may be unfamiliar to the reader, but is fully explained, with diagrams and examples, plus many suggestions for discussion and further study.

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