Critical Response 4 Directions
Notice that I have extended the deadline this week to Sunday, June 6, at 11:55 p.m.
Before writing your Critical Response, be sure to review my comments and mark-ups on your previous Critical Responses.
You have three prompts from which to choose. Respond to one of the prompts in a carefully thought-out and carefully written essay. You should give your Critical Response essay a substantive title that indicates its focus (“Critical Response One,” for example, does not count!).
Write at least 350 words and be sure to include direct reference to concepts and/or information from your reading in the pdfs and other material on the course Moodle site. Your references and quotations should include an indication of source and page (or biblical book, chapter, verse) in the body of the essay. See the “Citation and Works Cited” pdf for examples.
Also, be sure to include a Works Cited list at the end of the essay. This includes your bible text and any of the readings on the Moodle site or other sources that you refer to in your essay. You can cite the course pdfs simply by the titles I have given you. See the “Citation and Works Cited” pdf.
Choose one of the following prompts:
1. The biblical scholar James Ackerman has written about the book of Jonah:
“The author of Jonah has skillfully used irony in order to distance us from the hero while also keeping the story on its narrow path between invective and farce.”
First, look up “irony,” “invective,” and “farce” to be sure you understand what Ackerman is saying. Then, using Ackerman’s observation as a thesis, write a careful analysis of at least two specific instances of the author’s use of irony in Jonah.
2. In the opening chapter of Ruth, the widowed and now childless Naomi decides to return to her homeland in Judah. In verses 14-19 we see the parting of Orpah, and Ruth’s decision to remain with Naomi. Explain the significance of this passage in terms of your larger understanding of the themes and ideas of the Bible and particularly the story of Ruth. Be sure to read the passage carefully and include in your explanation analysis of specific details in the language of the passage. Be sure to identify the literary techniques the author uses and explain how those techniques contribute to the effect of the passage.
3. We have seen that biblical narratives (stories) often include songs (lyric poems: short, emotionally expressive poems) embedded in them. It often appears that the song existed before the narrative and was inserted into it (as we saw with Exodus 15). This appears to be the case with Jonah, Chapter 2; this is a psalm-like poem that expresses ideas broadly appropriate to Jonah, but not completely consistent with his precise situation. Read Jonah 2 carefully and, using specific quotations as examples, identify details in the poem that do not fit exactly with Jonah’s situation, but also explain how the poem “works” in its context–how is it appropriate to Jonah?