Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Bunyan Davie Napier, a minister, theologian, and seminary professor, published Old Testament theological research between 1955 and1964 and the later Rockwell Lecture, On New Creation (1971). Napier’s first single-volume poem, Come Sweet Death, appeared in 1967, followed by two additional poems, Time of Burning (1970) and Word of God, Word of Earth (1976). These three poems compose The Best of Davie Napier.
Napier values myths, especially theologically refined mythical stories found in Genesis, for what he terms their “isness” more than their “wasness.” Genesis was orally transmitted from the tenth century b.c.e. before it was recorded in the sixth century b.c.e., so it is both informed by and informing to the rest of the Old Testament. As such, Napier calls Genesis “a meditation on history” that reveals how Creation shaped the faith and life of first the Jews and then the nations. Like Genesis, Come Sweet Death may be viewed as an act of “prophetism,” which Napier defines in Prophets in Perspective (1963) as “a way of looking at, understanding, and interpreting history.”
Napier introduces Come Sweet Death as a colloquial retelling or “existential interpretation” of Genesis 2-12 in the present tense. He excerpts from Genesis 2-12, with additional verses from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, the...
(The entire section is 855 words.)
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