Anyone who undertakes to read or study the OT will discover an amazing, delightful, but at times bewildering array of all kinds of literary materials and genres in its pages (see “The Bible and Literature,” pp. 93ff.). Legal material, wisdom material, poetry, prose, apocalyptic, proverbs, didactic, parabolic and prophetic materials, history, lawsuit patterns, eulogies, laments, psalms, riddles, torah, genealogies, short stories, oracles, woes, myths, epic—these are all terms that must be used to describe the broad sweep of literature found in the OT. And the way these various genres and styles of writing are combined is unique in the literature of the world. This multiplicity of languages, theology, history, and literary forms is matched by the stentorian voice it gives to the unified story of the mighty acts and words of God in time and eternity. Any interpretative approach to the OT must deal with this complex reality of language and style used to communicate the content of the text if the veracity and integrity of the message are to be discerned.
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