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Narrative Art in the Bible by Shimon Bar-Efrat

            In his book, “Narrative Art in the Bible” Shimon Bar-Efrat aims at approaching the Bible as a work of art by looking at different narratives. His main interests are especially focused in the books of Genesis and Samuel. He does not examine the narratives using the normal technique of motif, but he instead examines the type of narration and the mode of design. He breaks down the content of the book by classifying the narrative in terms of the narrator, characters, plot, style, time and space. He identifies different types of narrators, and looks at how different characters are shaped indirectly and directly. He also identifies different units and stages of plots, shaping of time and space, and different stylistic devices and style of narrative units.

He begins the book by noting the importance of the narrator in any narrative. He notes the different perspectives used by the narrator in the Bible and he identifies and contrasts five types of narrators. He concludes that there are narrators who know everything about the characters and the events and he contrasts them with the narrators who only observe details from the outside. He also identifies narrators who, though present, do not know all that is happening, but they add comments and explain different parts of the story. He contrasts them with silent narrators who do not add to the description of the narrative. He also identifies narrators who only know a fraction of what is going on. They are aware of the events but they only know very few details. He contrasts them with the narrators who are close to the scenes and they have a clearer view of what is happening. He observes that there are narrators who only look at issues without depth and he contrasts them with the narrators who see the story from the perspective of others. He observes that there are objective narrators and he contrasts them with the narrators who have a final attitude of what they have observed.

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