In chapter 3 of your book How to Read the Bible you mention the German biblical scholar Hermann Gunkel, but I can find no reference in your book to his idea of the text’s “Sitz im Leben” (the role of a text’s original use and intended role in daily life, its “setting in life”) as a way of understanding its meaning. Am I missing something again?
You’re right, I didn’t mention Gunkel’s interest in various texts’ “Sitz im Leben” when I wrote about the narratives of Genesis (where Gunkel’s idea of “etiological narratives” seems crucial): I don’t believe Sitz im Leben is really relevant there, since no one really knows where or how those ancient tales fit into the life of ancient Israelites: Stories told around the campfire? Stories connected to specific sanctuaries or other sites? Stories with some political role? Maybe all three of these (and more). But where Gunkel’s notion of Sitz im Leben has proven extremely important is in his understanding of biblical psalms, and I did mention it in discussing this topic (p. 463 and ff.).