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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Jonah's World: Social Science and the Reading of Prophetic Story
Handy, Lowell K.

London: Equinox, 2008 pp. xvi + 214. $24.95

Series Information
BibleWorld


Description: This work sets out the background world for the story of Jonah. Accepting the biblical book as a fictitious short story based on "real world" locations, the volume uses social science approaches to describe the imaginative world in which the action takes place. Since the story uses real places and recognizable persons to weave the narrative, at least three levels of perception are considered: 1) the "real" world behind the book's references, 2) the social and ideological constructs of the world, and 3) the imaginative world of the story itself. All of these are connected by and through the scribal author of the story. Geography, theology, human characters and natural flora and fauna are investigated. The models creatively used by humans to order their vision of the world can be shown to have been used as literary devices in constructing a story with totally fictitious historical citations as well as fabulous creatures and events that nonetheless conveys a message considered an insight into reality by the author. The story of Jonah, often read as a simple children's story, comes across as a more complicated and adult oriented narrative with a serious intent.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Book of the Twelve, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches, Jonah

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Review by Karl Moller
Published 6/1/2009
Citation: Karl Moller, review of Lowell K. Handy, Jonah's World: Social Science and the Reading of Prophetic Story, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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