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2 Characterization in Literary Theory

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the characterization of Jesus in the book of Hebrews according to the theories and practices of modern narratology and ancient rhetoric. It begins with modern theories and practices of narratology before exploring ancient understandings of characters and their appropriation in rhetorical theory and practice. The twentieth century saw the rise of many new literary movements, such as Russian formalism, Anglo-American New Criticism, and French structuralism, which successfully applied their theories not only to modern literature, but to older works of literature as well. The distinction between telling and showing can actually be traced back to Plato. In The Republic392c-394b, Plato distinguishes between narration and imitation. According to Bar-Efrat, biblical statements about a character's inner personality convey either their character traits or mental states. Character traits may be voiced directly by the narrator or one of the characters.

Keywords: Hebrews; Jesus; Plato; rhetorical theory; Russian formalism



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