Meir Sternberg

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For the Israeli judge, see Meir Shamgar.

Meir Sternberg is an Israeli literary critic and biblical scholar. He is Artzt Professor of Poetics and Comparative Literature at Tel Aviv University. Along with Robert Alter and Adele Berlin, Sternberg is one of the most prominent practitioners of a literary approach to the Bible.[1]

Sternberg is best known for his 1985 book The Poetics of Biblical Narrative. Sternberg argues that the Bible is a "foolproof composition": any reader who reads the Bible in "good faith" will get the point of what is written.[2][3][4] He believes the Bible is written by an omniscient narrator, who has had things revealed to him by an omniscient God. Sternberg also makes much of "gaps" in narration, in which the narrator withholds truth in order to generate ambiguity. Finally, he argues that the biblical authors were concerned with three central elements in their narratives: aesthetics, history, and ideology.[5]

Sternberg is the editor of Poetics Today. He was awarded the Israel Prize in 1996.


  1. ^ Crenshaw, James L. (2004). "Foreword". The Psalms In Israel's Worship. Eerdmans. p. xxx. 
  2. ^ Berlin, Adele (2008). "Literary approaches to biblical literature". The Hebrew Bible: New Insights and Scholarship. NYU Press. p. 54. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Freedman, Amelia Devin (2005). God as an Absent Character in Biblical Hebrew Narrative. p. 17. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  4. ^ R. Christopher Heard, "Narrative Criticism and the Hebrew Scriptures," Restoration Quarterly 38.1 (1996), 33.
  5. ^ J. Daniel Hays, "An Evangelical Approach to Old Testament Narrative Criticism," Bibliotheca Sacra 166 (2009), 7.