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Patriarchal Narrative

(5,376 words)

Author(s): Robinson, Robert B.
The patriarchal narrative (better, “ancestral narrative,” since both women and men are thematically important) narrows the account of human interaction with God begun with creation (Primeval History [Genesis 1–11]) to the story of the family of Abraham and Sarah. At the beginning of the narrative (Gen. 12:1–3, 7), God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah of offspring, a land, protection, and blessings to themselves and to all nations through them establishes the scope of the narrative—a narrowly focused family history ultimately embracing all nati…

Narrative Theology

(2,873 words)

Author(s): Robinson, Robert B.
1. The Nature of Narrative Narratives are stories. Stories become theological when they involve God, that is, when one of the characters active in them, implicated in their plots, whose character and nature are revealed by the actions recounted in the story, is God. Stories involving God are of different orders. The first instance is the stories of the Bible in which God is depicted directly as a character in the persons of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Other stories recount individual lives in their fullness, including the interaction betwee…

Primeval History (

(2,218 words)

Author(s): Robinson, Robert B.
Genesis 1–11) Biblical primeval history, Genesis 1–11, recounts the period beginning with God’s creation of the heavens and the earth and the forming of the first human beings through a series of largely dismal expressions of human sinfulness, and concluding with the dispersion of human beings over the face of the earth after the failed effort to construct a tower at Babel. The scale of the account is universal from the opening verse. Although many of the events recounted are quite commonplace, each o…