A Poetics of Jonah: Art in the Service of Ideology

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Mercer University Press, 1999 - Religion - 208 pages
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"With warm tears in his eyes, Patroclus, obviously distressed and troubled, turns to his friend Achilles, and says something like, 'Who can do anything with you?' An expression similar to this one from the Iliad might occur to anyone who writes about Jonah. With such a large number of books and articles available, what more can be or needs to be said about that popular prophetic book?" (from the author's preface).

With these words, Kenneth Craig acknowledges that (1) Jonah is indeed a puzzlement and that (2) a profusion of investigators, ancient and modern, have attempted to untangle the Gordian knot posed by Jonah the recalcitrant prophet. Perhaps we need to back off from Jonah, regroup, and try to approach Jonah from another direction -- which is exactly what Craig does, and with promising results.

In the tradition of the Tel Aviv school of poetics, Craig uncovers the literary and artistic devices that distinguish one of history's best-known yet perhaps least-understood stories: the story of Jonah the Prophet. Craig examines and describes the devices of the author to advance both his aesthetic and ideological purposes. The resulting exposition of Jonah is the first to apply poetics to the Book of Jonah.

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About the author (1999)

Craig is an associate professor in the Humanities Division at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

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