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xiv + 340 pp.

£22.50 / $45 / €33.75
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£45 / $90 / €67.50
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The Changing Shape of Form Criticism
A Relational Approach
Martin J. Buss
Edited by Nickie M. Stipe

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.

Martin Buss is Professor Emeritus, Department of Religion, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 18
978-1-906055-54-7 hardback
Publication June 2010

The Meaning of ĎCultí and the Interpretation of the Old Testament
Form Criticism and Morphological Method
Appropriate and Not-So-Appropriate Ways of Relating Historical and Functional Methods: A Draft
The Idea of Sitz im Leben
Understanding Communication
Principles for Morphological Criticism with Special Reference to Letter Form
The Notion of ĎAptnessí
Form Criticism: An Introduction
Form Criticism, Hebrew Bible
Toward Form Criticism as an Explication of Human Life: Divine Speech as a Form of Self-Transcendence
Interdisciplinary Ideas of Sitz im Leben

As a summary of the work of one of the most significant practitioners of form criticism in the history of modern biblical criticism, The Changing Shape of Form Criticism is an essential volume for scholars and advanced students interested in the theory and practice of form and genre criticism of the Bible. [Buss] provides a clearly articulated, strongly argued, coherent theory of form and genre, which must certainly be the first step toward a nuanced examination of form in the biblical literature. Colin Toffelmire, Review of Biblical Literature.