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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Changing Shape of Form Criticism: A Relational Approach
Buss, Martin J.
Stipe, Nickie M., editor

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2010 pp. xiv + 340. $90.00

Series Information
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 18

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Description: In this important collection of essays by the leading theorist of form, Martin Buss presents in Part I, Steps toward a New Form Criticism, several essays that view forms as complexes of relations that constitute possibilities. This relational approach to form criticism rejects, on the one hand, the idea that reality is at base only particular and, on the other hand, an essentialism that holds that forms are firmly structured and there is a single correct way to classify texts. In Part II, Interdisciplinary Ideas of Sitz im Leben, he shows how Gunkelís notion of Sitz im Leben, derived from his knowledge of other fields, made an impact on leading figures in several disciplines. They modified the notion, and their analyses became known to a number of biblical scholars. This cross-pollination introduced a new understanding of the notion of Sitz im Leben into biblical studies, which, in turn, was noted by scholars in other fields. An appendix to the volume reports relational approaches in several disciplines that provide a stimulus for relational form criticism.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Form, Tradition and Redaction Criticism

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Review by Colin Toffelmire
Published 8/7/2012
Citation: Colin Toffelmire, review of Martin J. Buss,The Changing Shape of Form Criticism: A Relational Approach, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).


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