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A Short Story of Narratology in Biblical Studies

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Chapter Summary

Since the 1970's a set of narratological tools has been developed to analyze the way a story is told by looking at the narrator, the action, the protagonists, as well as the story's setting in time and space. The term narratology was introduced in 1969 by Tzvetan Todorov in his Grammaire du Décaméron. Biblical narratives in general are told by an apparently omniscient narrator. In Genesis 22, a story with several protagonists, the general perspective is that of the external narrator, who plays no role in the plot and is never identified. Reading the biblical stories as narratives in the technical sense of the term implies taking into account the fact that the Bible is, in fact, literature, which in turn highlights the fictional character of these narratives. Fictionality is not about conveying fallacious images. It is rather a positive function of a text.

Keywords: biblical narrator; fictionality; Genesis 22; Grammaire du Décaméron; narratology; Tzvetan Todorov



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