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UBBL317 (Ruth & Esther): The Exegetical Process - Part 1

This guide is intended to help those in UBBL317 begin their research on Ruth or Esther. Rev. 6/2022, Sharon Ralston

Chart of Literary Elements - Part 1

  1. Choose a well-defined text
    Your instructor will provide an approved text.
  2. Write out your text by hand
    Write out by hand the assigned NRSV text twice. Be prepared to turn in your handwritten portion of the assignment. For online courses, scan and create a PDF file. The purpose of writing the text by hand is to aid you in noticing elements from the text that you may have overlooked.
  3. Pray
    If you feel comfortable doing so, invite God to help you read and understand the passage.
  4. Commit to living with the text
    Reflect on the text over multiple days of reading and re-reading.

Chart of Literary Elements - Part 2

In the chart below, fill in as many of the literary elements you can find.

NOTE: You might leave some categories blank. That is not a concern as not every text will include every literary element. Fill in as many as you can find.

List all the characters present in the passage.

Can you tell from the text who the implied audience is? That is, to whom does it appear that the authors are addressing their writing?

Can you tell from the text who the narrator is?

Is there a speech in the text? If so, who is making the speech? Is there dialogue? If so, who is speaking in the dialogue?

What is the genre or literary category? Some sample genres are: 1) speech; 2) narrative; 3) hymn; 4) parable; 5) dialogue; 6) pronouncement story.

Where is the passage set? What is the geographic location? What is the topography (i.e., on a mountain, in a plain, in a valley, near water)? Is it in a city or a village? A farm or out the wilderness? On a road? If so, where are they traveling from and to?

During what season of the year is the text set? What time of day? Is there a holy day involved?

Key Word(s), Phrase(s), or Theme(s)
List any key words, phrases, or themes. Key words, phrases, or themes are words, phrases, or themes that: 1) are repeated; or 2) are significant for meaning.

Historical Background
Are there references to historical background that will be necessary to understand the text? Are there rulers, tribal leaders, kings, or queens mentioned? Are there references to any ethnic groups? Any events or wars?

Socio-cultural Elements
Is honor or shame a factor? What social conventions can you identify? How is gender or kinship structured (i.e., who is exercising power and agency and can you tell why)? Who has power? Who doesn’t have power? Who is “in”? Who is “out”? Is there evidence of patronage?