Cover image for Literary Construction of Identity in the Ancient World: Proceedings of the Conference Literary Fiction and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Literatures: Options and Limits of Modern Literary Approach Edited by Hanna Liss and Manfred Oeming

Literary Construction of Identity in the Ancient World

Proceedings of the Conference Literary Fiction and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Literatures: Options and Limits of Modern Literary Approach

Edited by Hanna Liss and Manfred Oeming

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Literary Construction of Identity in the Ancient World

Proceedings of the Conference Literary Fiction and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Literatures: Options and Limits of Modern Literary Approach

Edited by Hanna Liss and Manfred Oeming

Encountering an ancient text not only as a historical source but also as a literary artifact entails an important paradigm shift, which in recent years has taken place in classical and Oriental philology. Biblical scholars, Egyptologists, and classical philologists have been pioneers in supplementing traditional historical-critical exegesis with more-literary approaches. This has led to a wealth of new insights. While the methodological consequences of this shift have been discussed within each discipline, until recently there has not been an attempt to discuss its validity and methodology on an interdisciplinary level. In 2006, the Faculty of Bible and Biblical Interpretation at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg, and the Faculty of Theology at the University of Heidelberg invited scholars from the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, and Germany to examine these issues. Under the title “Literary Fiction and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Literatures: Options and Limits of Modern Literary Approaches in the Exegesis of Ancient Texts,” experts in Egyptology, classical philology, ancient Near Eastern studies, biblical studies, Jewish studies, literary studies, and comparative religion came together to present current research and debate open questions.

 

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  • Table of Contents
Encountering an ancient text not only as a historical source but also as a literary artifact entails an important paradigm shift, which in recent years has taken place in classical and Oriental philology. Biblical scholars, Egyptologists, and classical philologists have been pioneers in supplementing traditional historical-critical exegesis with more-literary approaches. This has led to a wealth of new insights. While the methodological consequences of this shift have been discussed within each discipline, until recently there has not been an attempt to discuss its validity and methodology on an interdisciplinary level. In 2006, the Faculty of Bible and Biblical Interpretation at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg, and the Faculty of Theology at the University of Heidelberg invited scholars from the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, and Germany to examine these issues. Under the title “Literary Fiction and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Literatures: Options and Limits of Modern Literary Approaches in the Exegesis of Ancient Texts,” experts in Egyptology, classical philology, ancient Near Eastern studies, biblical studies, Jewish studies, literary studies, and comparative religion came together to present current research and debate open questions.

At this conference, each representative (from a total of 23 different disciplines) dealt with literary theory in regard to his or her area of research. The present volume organizes 17 of the resulting essays along 5 thematic lines that show how similar issues are dealt with in different disciplines: (1) Thinking of Ancient Texts as Literature, (2) The Identity of Authors and Readers, (3) Fiction and Fact, (4) Rereading Biblical Poetry, and (5) Modeling the Future by Reconstructing the Past.

Preface

Abbreviations

Part 1: Thinking of Ancient Texts as Literature

Memory, Narration, Identity: Exodus as a Political Myth Jan Assmann

Narrative Poetics and Hebrew Narrative: A Survey Joachim Vette

Is There a Universal Genre of ‘Drama’? Conjectures on the Basis of ‘Dramatic’ Texts in Old Testament Prophecy, Attic Tragedy, and Egyptian Cult Plays Helmut Utzschneider

Narratology and the Classics: The Proof of the Pudding Irene J. F. de Jong

Part 2: The Identity of Authors and Readers

Ancient Writers, Modern Readers, and King Ashurnasirpal’s Political Problems: An Exploration of the Possibility of Reading Ancient Texts Barbara N. Porter

The Achilles Heel of Reader-Response Criticism and the Concept of Reading Hermeneutics of Caution Christof Hardmeier

Tell Me Who I Am: Reading the Alphabet of Ben Sira Dagmar Börner-Klein

The Powers of a Lost Subject: Reinventing a Poet’s Identity in Catullus’s Carmen Melanie Möller

Part 3: Fiction and Fact

Forms of Talk in Hebrew Biblical Narrative: Negotiations, Interaction, and Sociocultural Context Frank H. Polak

Of Mice and Men and Blood: The Laws of Ritual Purity in the Hebrew Bible Hanna Liss

Fiction and Imagination in Early Christian Literature: The Acts of the Apostles as a Test Case Ute E. Eisen

Fictions and Formulations: The Talmud and the Construction of Jewish Identity David Kraemer

Are Vocation Texts Fictional? On Hesiod’s Helicon Experience Geritt Kloss

Part 4: Rereading Biblical Poetry

From Aristotle to Bakhtin: The Comedic and the Carnivalesque in a Biblical Tale Nehama Aschkenasy

Where Is Isaiah in Isaiah? Francis Landy

Job 28 and the Climax in Chapters 29-31: Crisis and Identity Jan Fokkelman

Part 5: Modeling the Future by Reconstructing the Past

Samuel’s ‘Farewell Speech’: Theme and Variation in 1 Samuel 12, Josephus, and Pseudo-Philo Joachim Vette

The Exile: Biblical Ideology and Its Postmodern Ideological Interpretation Adele Berlin

Indexes

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