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Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode : Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature - Robert S. Kawashima

Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode

Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature

Hardcover Published: 9th December 2004
ISBN: 9780253344779
Number Of Pages: 312

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Informed by literary theory and Homeric scholarship as well as biblical studies, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode sheds new light on the Hebrew Bible and, more generally, on the possibilities of narrative form. Robert S. Kawashima compares the narratives of the Hebrew Bible with Homeric and Ugaritic epic in order to account for the "novelty" of biblical prose narrative. Long before Herodotus or Homer, Israelite writers practiced an innovative narrative art, which anticipated the modern novelist's craft. Though their work is undeniably linked to the linguistic tradition of the Ugaritic narrative poems, there are substantive differences between the bodies of work. Kawashima views biblical narrative as the result of a specifically written verbal art that we should counterpose to the oral-traditional art of epic. Beyond this strictly historical thesis, the study has theoretical implications for the study of narrative, literature, and oral tradition.

Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature -- Herbert Marks, General Editor

For many years now, biblical scholars have studied the literary qualities of the ancient texts. Adding astute insights to those of pioneering scholar Robert Alter, Kawashima (New York Univ.) offers a comparative study of Greek mythology and the Hebrew Bible, probing their relationship and looking at what the stories have in common and what kind of knowledge is required to span the gulf between them. The author argues that the essential difference between these two Mediterranean-centered foundation stories lies in the fact that one was oral, the other written. Part of the oral tradition, the Greek tales were recited on ceremonial occasions by a rhapsode (bardic minstrel), whose delivery depended on memory and personal style; each performance was novel and subjective. The biblical narratives, which tradition has it were brought back to the Holy Land from Babylonian exile by priest/scribe Ezra, were written texts that were read sequentially at public assemblies. Law prohibited change in the texts and thus fidelity marks their particular verbal art. Kawashima illuminates the two forms' literary elements-narrative, dialogue, repetition, characterization-as they have evolved into modern literature. This is a meticulously researched study, both demanding and rewarding. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.July 2005 -- M. Butovsky * emeritus, Concordia University *

Introduction: The Novelty of Biblical Narrative
From Song to Story: The Genesis of Narrative in Judges 4 and 5
Narration and Discourse: The Linguistic Dualism of Biblical Narrative and Its Literary Consequences
Represented Consciousness in Biblical Narrative
Biblical Time and Epic Time: From Grammar to Narrative Technique
The Art of Biblical Narrative as Technique: Making Strange the Tradition
Conclusion: Toward an Archaeology of Ancient Israelite Knowledge
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780253344779
ISBN-10: 0253344778
Series: Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 9th December 2004
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.66