Bible Commentaries - The Crisis of a Literary Genre
- Karlfried Froehlich (see profile)
- Biblical interpretation, History, Literature--Study and teaching, Literary form--Study and teaching, Classical education, Bible as literature, Criticism, Textual
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- Biblical commentaries, Biblical Hermeneutics, History of biblical interpretation, History of literary study, Genre studies, Textual scholarship
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- The original (German) version of this 1986 article was dedicated to Bernhard W. Anderson who, at that time, was planning to write a commentary on Genesis. He struggled with the idea of a commentary and agreed that the genre faced a crisis. Froehlich described the crisis as an overload of expectation: far too much is expected of biblical commentaries. To gain a perspective, he tried to sketch the history of the genre from its origins in classical textual scholarship through modern times under four headings: designation, occasion, format, and method. At the end, he agreed with Anderson's description of a rather modest goal of what a commentary should deliver: information on the original text, a clear decision about hermeneutical presuppositions, help with the penetration into the foreign world of the text, but also help in developing the reader’s own imaginative facilities in dealing with language and incorporating the biblical text into the life of the Christian community.
- The article was first published in German as ”Bibelkommentare ― Zur Krise einer Gattung“, in: Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 84:4 (November 1987), pp. 465-492. The English version is published here for the first time.
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