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All Books and Software: Biblical Studies: Commentaries and Studies on the Old Testament: Ruth

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The Structure of the Book of Ruth

by Marjo C. A. Korpel

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Table of Contents


The Book of Ruth reads like a novel. Scholars agree on the literary virtuosity of its author but are deeply divided about the way she or he has structured the work. For the first time ever, "The Structure of the Book of Ruth" makes use of hitherto neglected evidence from ancient Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, and Latin manuscripts in an attempt to create a more objective basis for discussions about the book's structure. This type of structural analysis is a powerful new tool in the hands of Bible scholars. Structural irregularities appear to elucidate the redactional history of the Book of Ruth. Structural breaks and links appear to function as markers indicating a certain understanding of the text to the exclusion of other possibilities.

Product Details

Publisher: Van Gorcum
Publication date: 2001
Bibliographic info: 352 pages
Language(s): English


Cover: Cloth



"This is a very technical literary study of one of the Bible's most popular short stories. The structure of the four chapters of the book of Ruth has eluded scholars to our own day. Before reporting the results of his own structural analysis, Korpel summarizes some of the insights of twenty other scholars. He then explains how his own work will begin with a delimitation of the smallest literary building blocks, the feet and cola, which will be followed by the delimitation of lines, strophes, paragraphs, and finally macrostructural units. He insists that the intertextual links within the book of Ruth argue in favor or its basic literary unity. He believes that all of his findings suggest a date somewhere between the late preexilic to a postexilic period. He also maintains that the book addresses one of the major problems of Israel's religion, that of theodicy, the question of the righteousness of God in the face of innocent suffering."The Bible Today

"he Structure of the Book of Ruth is an original contribution to the relatively vast secondary scholarship on this small biblical book and its structure. Korpel is a careful reader not only of the Hebrew text of Ruth but of the many recent authors who have attempted to represent the formal contours and thematic content of the book. More importantly, she is a careful reader of the earliest versions of Ruth (Greek, Syriac, and Latin), and is the first to use them comprehensively as a source for establishing the micro and macro literary structures of the text.

"The Structure of the Book of Ruth should be appreciated for its thoroughness and for the novel contribution it makes as a bridge between text criticism and literary criticism. One must agree with her that ancient reading conventions should be taken into consideration along with other forms of literary analysis. While this new approach offers another important (hitherto neglected) source of information, this data must be interpreted together with all other forms of textual, linguistic, and literary data. Korpel models this kind of integrated analysis well." --Timothy S. Laniak, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 4 (2002-2003)

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