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Title: Reduced laughter : seriocomic features and their functions in the book of Kings
Author: Paynter, Helen Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 2614
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores how the interpretation of Kings might be enlightened by applying a hermeneutic developed from the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian literary critic. Bakhtin demonstrated how the social construct of carnival has made its way into some literature, which he terms seriocomic. Diagnostic criteria for seriocomic literature are: violation of linguistic norms; inversion of hierarchy and oxymoronic combinations; the fool and 'masking'; crowning/decrowning; 'odd feasts'; grotesque and scatological elements; profanation; and fantasticality. Application of these diagnostic features to the book of Kings reveals a florid outburst of seriocomic features within the central (northern) texts of the book. There are some unresolved 'enigmas' in the book of Kings, including the surprising prominence of the nation of Aram; the dubious ethical content of some of the prophets' actions; and I Kings 19: 16-17, where Elijah is commanded to anoint Hazael, Jehu and Elisha. The proposed hermeneutic helps resolve these enigmas. I Kings 19: 16-17 opens an inclusio which closes in II Kings 13. Within this inclusio, certain important themes are developed, including the subversion of the prophetic role, and the subversion of the nations of Aram, Israel and Judah. Additionally, another literary device is identified, which helps to address the other two enigmas, the mise-en-abyme (literary mirroring). In the case of Elijah and Elisha, repetitions of circumstance draw our attention to compare the two men. The seriocomic features of the text subvert the reader's attitude to Elisha, and then by shadowing, scorn is diverted towards Elijah. Similarly there is a complex web of symmetries, pairs, mirrors and parallels between the nations of Aram, Israel and Judah. The text repeatedly directs the reader's scorn and mirth towards Aram, but on each occasion the narrative turns, and disdain is diverted to Israel, and thence to Judah
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available