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Secret Talk and Eavesdropping Scenes: Its Literary Effects and Significance in Biblical Narrative

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Eavesdropping scenes are common features of ancient and modern literary creations. However, in spite of the contemporary interest in the literary and artistic character of biblical narratives, eavesdropping scenes in biblical narratives have received little scholarly treatment. This paper engages the presence, use and functions of eavesdropping scenes in biblical narrative. In particular, eavesdropping scenes aid characterization, trigger the plots of stories, introduce turning points, and increase the mimetic qualities of the story. On the other hand, eavesdropping scenes breach the borderlines between the private and public spaces by taking readers into the private world of biblical characters. On this discourse level, the reader also becomes an eavesdropper by overhearing/ reading the conversations situated in these eavesdropping scenes. In the same way, the narrator also shares the posture of the eavesdropper in the hearing/retelling of the story to the intended readers.

Affiliations: 1: Stellenbosch UniversitySouth


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