THE THREE WORLDS
Here below is how one student summarized the worlds (she has more detail here)
Literary World--The literary world of the Bible is simply the text itself, apart from anything outside the text. We mean the world (or, better, worlds) created by the text; the words on the page, by the stories, songs, letters and the myriad other types of literature that make up the Bible. All good literature (and the Bible is, among other things, good literature) creates in readers' minds magnificent, mysterious, and often moving worlds that take on a reality of their own, whether or not they represent anything real outside the pages (Hauer and Young ch 2).
Historical World--The historical world of the Bible isthe world "behind the text" or "outside the text". It is the context in which the Bible came to be written, translated, and interpreted over time, until the present. In studying the historical world of the Bible, we look for evidence outside the text that helps us answer questions such as, who wrote this text, when was it written, to whom was it written, and why was it written. We also probe the text itself for evidence that links it to historical times, places, situations, and persons (Hauer and Young 2)..
Contemporary World--The contemporary world is the "world in front of the text" or the "world of the reader." In one sense, there are as many contemporary worlds of the Bible as there are readers, for each of us brings our own particular concerns and questions to the text. They inevitably shape our reading experience. We are all interested in answering the questions of whether the Bible in general, or particular texts, have any relevance to our personal lives (Hauer and Young ch3).