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Title: A narratological approach to the Pentateuch Targums
Author: Lasair, Simon G. D. A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3605 296X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis explores the kinds of contributions narratology can make to the study of the Pentateuch Targums. The Pentateuch Targums are early Jewish Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible that often include large portions of extra-biblical material. Narratology is a literary critical field of enquiry that identifies certain kinds of literary structures as being important for understanding narratives. The narratological theories of Mieke Bal, Gerard Genette, and Meir Sternberg form the methodological starting points for this project. This thesis explores the conjunction of narratology with the Pentateuch Targums by performing close analyses of several selected targumic passages, focusing particularly on Targums Neofiti and PseudoJonathan. Throughout, the analyses emphasise such concepts as narrative agency, narrative versus non-narrative portions of text, the roles of the narrator, location, and character, as well as the fundamental distinction between/abula, story, and text levels of narrative. The hermeneutical relationship between the targums and the Hebrew Bible is a secondary concern, as is the diachronic growth of targum texts. The key issue in this thesis is the internal coherence of the targumic narratives. When the targums present coherent narratives, several things become evident. Lines of coherence can be traced within the context of single episodes, and sometimes beyond episode boundaries, extending across the entire Hebrew Bible. These coherence structures suggest that the targumists might have been concerned with the translation/transformation of entire biblical episodes, rather than merely with single biblical words or sentences. Narrative coherence also allows the articulation and exploration of ideologies concerning gender in the targums, as well as in the ancient Mediterranean cont.ext. When the targums manifest significant incoherence, narratology explores possible literary reasons for the incoherence rather than diachronic explanations. This move ultimately necessitates further methodological discussion, since both approaches are ultimately shown to be inadequate. Chapter 1 introduces the topic of the thesis, providing a sense of academic context. Chapter 2 introduces key narratological concepts, illustrating them with Pseudo-Jonathan's versions of Genesis 4:8 and Genesis 22: 10, to name but two examples. Chapter 3 shows how narratology can be used across an entire episode, in particular PseudoJonathan Genesis 39. Chapter 4 examines several incoherent passages, including Pseudo-Jonathan Exodus 2:1, Neofiti Exodus 12:42, and Neofiti Genesis 44:18. Chapter 5 analyses two targumic episodes from a gender critical perspective: Neofiti Numbers 12, and Pseudo-Jonathan Genesis 16. Chapter 5 also revisits PseudoJonathan Genesis 39. The thesis concludes with a summary of its findings, and an identification ofquestions for further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available