Illuminating personality : the dynamics of characterization in Biblical Hebrew Literature
The plan of this thesis is to outline the various techniques of characterization, and to illustrate how they operate in the biblical literature. Accordingly, the study is divided into two sections. First, after an introduction tracing the rise of the literary approach and a survey of the study of character by biblical scholars, "Part One" delineates an analytic framework for studying the elements of characterization. The framework, which is subdivided into characterization achieved through narration and intimated through direct discourse, is "heuristic". It serves to specify the main techniques, and is designed to explore literary questions of character in the text. These categories are descriptive, providing definitions and clarity to terms such as 'motif' and 'irony' as they relate to the study of character. Second, "Part Two" is composed of a series of chapters entitled "the dynamics of characterization". This section features close readings of six selected biblical texts, with a specific emphasis on character and the accompanying techniques of characterization. This thesis provides an introduction to the study of character in biblical literature, and a "foundational" description of the elements of characterization which can be seen to dynamically operate in the text. There are, then, three main objectives for the thesis as a whole. First, through the analytic framework, to identify and define the main elements used in biblical characterization. Second, by means of the textual examples, to illustrate how these various elements are deployed in the Hebrew corpus to render human personality. And third, to demonstrate the exegetical value in this kind of enterprise; that a focused study of, and attention to the issues relating to character, can yield interpretative dividends and be useful in the overall interpretation of the biblical literature.