Narrative Structure and Discourse Constellations: An Analysis of Clause Function in Biblical Hebrew Prose

Narrative Structure and Discourse Constellations: An Analysis of Clause Function in Biblical Hebrew Prose

Abstract:

One of the perennial problems within the study of biblical Hebrew syntax is how the five basic verbal clause types - QATAL, YIQTOL, WeQATAL, WeYIQTOL and WAYYIQTOL - as well as participial and verbless clauses provide the meaning and structure of narrative prose.

This definitive study examines two cases of extended narrative: The Novella of Joseph (Genesis 37, 39-47) and the Court Narrative of David (2 Samuel 9-20; 1 Kings 1-2) and analyzes the independent clauses within each.

This comprehensive examination demonstrates that the arrangement of clause types in narrative is not random or infinite. In narrative, specific sets of differing types of clauses either begin or conclude paragraphs or provide two types of commentary upon certain elements of the narrative. In direct discourse, a limited number of clause constellations can occur. Differing clause types in narrative, therefore, determine the structure of the storyline; differing clause types in direct discourse determine the purpose of the speech.

Notes:

Harvard Semitic Studies - HSS 55

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 08/29/2014