bible take-home 1

bible take-home 1 - Jennifer Moody ENGS 131: B, Take Home...

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Jennifer Moody ENGS 131: B, Take Home Final May 6, 2009 I. B. In both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, type-scenes play an important role in conveying essential themes and messages to the reader. Type-scene basically refers to an author’s inclusion of certain accepted literary conventions in a narrative, designed primarily to convey an important underlying message as opposed to providing a literal account of events. In places in the Bible where type-scenes are employed, it is necessary for the reader to devote their attention not only to the present narrative, but also to any themes it may have in common with others that have employed the same type-scene. In looking at the differences or similarities between multiple narratives that employ the same type-scene, the reader is able to distinguish what sets that author’s interpretation of a particular literary convention apart, as well as how that type-scene connects multiple narrative themes together. In the Hebrew Bible, we see the use of a betrothal type-scene in the Book of Ruth. Although this type-scene also appears in at least three other places in the Hebrew Bible, Ruth does a slight alteration on the gender roles, which sets the use of this narrative component apart from other places that it appears. In the book of Genesis, we see the betrothals of Isaac and Rebekah, as well as Jacob and Rachel, and then Moses and Zipporah in Exodus. Ruth employs the same type-scene as the authors of Genesis and Exodus in this case, and does so using many similar details. The presence of a well in each narrative as the place where each pair meets is said to symbolize fertility. In the Book of Ruth, it is the male companions of Boaz and not Ruth who draw water from the well, seeing as the protagonist in this case is female. Having a female protagonist is the primary difference between this and other narratives including the betrothal type-scene. This difference serves to characterize Ruth as an independent woman, who was married once before, but is now a widow. There is also not a great deal of emphasis placed on
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Jennifer Moody ENGS 131: B, Take Home Final May 6, 2009 Ruth’s family origins, or genealogy, as is placed on the brides in other betrothal type-scenes. There is also not a great deal of attention paid to any demand for a patriarch’s permission to marry or spreading the word of the betrothal, as is present in other stories. This may be due, in part, to the fact that Ruth has been married before, but it also speaks to her independence from any sort of patriarch and historically ties the narrative to ideas of the role that a matriarchal figure could play in that society. In manipulating the conventions of this narrative, the author of the Book of Ruth uses this type-scene to introduce an independent matriarch into the Hebrew Bible, as well as making her a part of the betrothal type-scene conventions. Although it employs a different type-scene, we can also see how this convention is
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bible take-home 1 - Jennifer Moody ENGS 131: B, Take Home...

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