Hidden Polemics in Biblical Narrative:

Hidden Polemics in Biblical Narrative:

Hidden Polemics in Biblical Narrative:

Hidden Polemics in Biblical Narrative:

Synopsis

The author's approach to Roman epic is interpretative; the reader is invited to study a choice of typical texts, from the beginnings to the end of Antiquity. Famous poets are given the attention they deserve, but also some minor authors are discovered as precious 'missing links' between the ages. Special heed is paid to intertextual relationships between different epochs, cultures, literary genres, linguistic and literary patterns. The book is meant for students and teachers of classical and modern literatures, but also for all those interested in the history of literary genres and cultural ideas.

Excerpt

This book was written to illuminate a literary phenomenon related to the realm of ideology and poetics, which may contribute to our understanding of an aspect of Israel's spiritual life during the biblical period: namely, the presence of hidden polemics within biblical literature. Hidden literary polemic refers to a conceptual confrontation that found its expression in written materials, but which due to practical circumstances or rhetorical considerations there was a tendency to conceal. Encounter with the subject of the polemics reveals another side of the ideological aspects reflected in biblical literature, revealing directions and positions concerning controversial issues; recognition of the techniques of concealment, which lends the polemic its hidden character, shows the reader some of the poetical sophistication of the ancient biblical authors. By the nature of things, the existence of literary polemics points toward those subjects which occupied the intellectual and social life of the Israelite during a certain period in the biblical age. Hence, involvement with them brings the latter-day reader closer to the milieu of biblical man, towards those forces within which he acted and which were imposed upon him. Moreover, due to the formative power of biblical literature, including its polemics, the reader will discover that hidden polemics of the distant past sometimes have effective power even in the present.

A certain childhood experience may have served as the motivation —originally unconscious—for my interest in this subject. the story is as follows. Every so often my mother would receive, at times at intervals of a year or even two, letters from relatives who were exiled in Siberia. the reading of these letters to anyone involved who entered our home, was a ritual which attracted my attention as a child. and yet, although I heard and understood one thing, the readers and other adult listeners understood the exact opposite, or at least something different. If, for example, the letter repeatedly stated that, despite the cold and harsh winter, they did not at all feel the cold, the adults immediately understood that they were very cold, and planned how to send a package to Russia and what to put in it. When I asked them why they understood it thus, they . . .

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