Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

Some of the book's theses and analyses have appeared in a long series of articles on the subject, and I am grateful for permission to use the material: "The King Through Ironic Eyes: The Narrator's Devices in the Story of David and Bathsheba and Two Excursuses on the Theory of the Narrative Text," Hasifrut 1 (1968) 263-92; ...

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1. Literary Text, Literary Approach: Getting the Questions Straight

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pp. 1-57

What goals does the biblical narrator set himself? What is it that he wants to communicate in this or that story, cycle, book? What kind of text is the Bible, and what roles does it perform in context? These are all variations on a fundamental question that students of the Bible would do well to pose loudly and sharply: ...

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2. Narrative Models

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pp. 58-83

Face-to-face communication, the paradigm of language use, underlies the Bible's prophetic rather than narrative discourse. If prophecy reflects the forms and intonations of speech even when committed to paper—or parchment—then narrative operates in and through the medium of writing, as Scripture in the fullest sense; ...

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3. Ideology of Narration and Narration of Ideology

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pp. 84-128

"Why is the biblical narrator omniscient?" poses two distinct questions, according to whether one takes the "why" as a request for evidence or for explanation. In the first sense, the answer is by now simple enough: his narrative manifests all the privileges of knowledge that transcend the human condition. ...

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4. Viewpoints and Interpretations

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pp. 129-152

The Bible teaches more than one general lesson about narration. Far from a technical choice, point of view has emerged as an ideological crux and force, none the less artful for being thus engaged. And far from a matter of who speaks or sees what, I shall now proceed to argue, it always forms a combination of perspectives—such as the divine, ...

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5. The Play of Perspectives

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pp. 153-185

The foregoing analysis has sufficiently brought out the constants in the Bible's fourfold structure of point of view. We can now take a closer look at the areas left free for manipulation—relatively free, that is. As well as accommodating a great many local interests and adjustments, the variations are themselves systematic—hence distinctive— ...

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6. Gaps, Ambiguity and the Reading Process

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pp. 186-229

To understand a literary work, we have to answer, in the course of reading, a series of such questions as: What is happening or has happened, and why? What connects the present event or situation to what went before, and how do both relate to what will probably come after? What are the features, motives, or designs of this or that character? ...

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7. Between the Truth and the Whole Truth

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pp. 230-263

Arising from a lack in the telling, gaps give rise to a fullness in the reading: the Bible presses this universal of literary communication to extremes undreamt of before modernism. But the comparison with modernism also throws its peculiar features into relief. ...

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8. Temporal Discontinuity, Narrative Interest, and the Emergence of Meaning

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pp. 264-320

In art as in life, suspense derives from incomplete knowledge about a conflict (or some other contingency) looming in the future. Located at some point in the present, we know enough to expect a struggle but not to predict its course, and above all its outcome, with certitude. ...

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9. Proleptic Portraits

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pp. 321-341

The whole of anything, said Henry James, is never told. But the converse surely holds true as well. The whole of anything is never suppressed. Even discourse as reticent as the Bible's neither attempts nor craves the impossible. "No straw is given to thy servants, yet they say to us, Make bricks!" (Exod 5:16): ...

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10. Going from Surface to Depth

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pp. 342-364

The art of prolepsis systematizes and facilitates the movement from the truth to the whole truth within the plot. Epithet prefigures drama. But does it extend the same service to the intelligibility of character proper? As well as leading from past to present to future and from cause to effect along the axis of time, ...

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11. The Structure of Repetition: Strategies of Informational Redundancy

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pp. 365-440

The way of repetition seems to clash with one biblical principle we have been tracing and to fall under another. In its aspect as superfluity, it will not easily cohere with the dominant logic of gapping. How does loquacity go with reticence, overtreatment with undertreatment? ...

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12. The Art of Persuasion

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pp. 441-481

My epigraph comes from the scene where Tom Jones, in love with Sophia, yet lets Molly seduce him. No sooner has he fallen than Fielding rushes to the rescue with the explanation that the hero was drunk at the time and drink had taken away his wits. ...

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13. Ideology, Rhetoric, Poetics

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pp. 482-515

In the widest sense, "rhetoric" embraces the whole discourse in its communicative aspect, as a set of means chosen and organized with an eye to an audience rather than to self-expression or pure making. One may then speak, though I have rarely done so, of the rhetoric of narrative interest or character-drawing or repetition or ambiguity ...

Notes

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pp. 516-540

Index

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pp. 541-580