OBJECTIVE: I will, for the first time ever, read the Bible (the King James Version) in its entirety and in order, without consulting secondary sources and limiting other outside influences, in order to gain a deeper understanding of its contents as a piece of canonical literature and primary religious text. As I read, I will record my responses and reflections here, ranging from semi-formal literary criticism* to pure reader response.
1) I will not consult secondary sources of interpretation: I will be influenced by what I have heard and seen from having lived in the world, but my analysis is from my own head.
2) For each chapter, I will name one line as my “favorite.” Generally, these will be especially well-written or evocative, but they may also convey an idea that I find poignant.
3) On the other hand, I will not avoid voicing my dislike for portions of the text (as one would with any piece of literature). If I do, however, I will back up my thoughts with evidence from the text, like any good writer.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the parlance of literary analysis, to be “critical” of a text is not necessarily to view it negatively: to read “critically” is to analyze closely and thoughtfully. Sometimes, one looks for literary devices the author uses to persuade or evoke; other times, one views the text through a specific critical lens (e.g., post-colonialism) to gain further understanding of the text and make deeper and broader connections to other works or movements.
That is the kind of “critiquing” I will be doing. That said, I won’t be focusing on any particular lens consistently except reader response, which is my own personal reaction to the text.