Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (MA)


James Street


literary criticism, narrative, Hebrew, history, interpretation, myth


English Language and Literature | History


As the people who set out to write, edit, and form the Bible may have used embellishments to enhance their narratives, could they also have left literary markers to help the reader chart a course between the historical and the enhanced? The purpose of this thesis is to find these literary markers. Exposing any potential grammatical or syntactical signpost can help the reader understand how they should view a given Biblical story and help reveal the messages the authors behind the scripture were sharing. The book of Jonah will be used as a case study to both discover and elaborate how these literary markers help a trained reader to better align their interpretation of a passage with the intention of the original author. This examination will reveal the seven markers used in historical narratives to lead the audience to the correct conclusions: story beats, repeating words, intertextuality, irony, names, numbers, and wordplay. To support both the hypothesis that these markers are found in other historical narratives as well as illustrate how authors embedded deliberate clues to guide their readers, the book of Ruth will also be discussed. Literary markers reveal the brushstrokes behind the portraits the writers of Scripture have painted. Revealing these fingerprints both elucidates the artistry of the Bible and illuminates the theological messages behind the texts.