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Indian Poetics (Kāvya Śāstra) and Narratology Towards the Appreciation of Biblical Narrative

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G. Ayyaneth

Though the biblical and the Indian literary traditions had independent origin and growth in terms of spatial and cultural milieux, there are literary landscapes of confluence where the literary fabrics of their collective wisdom are interwoven. Both narrative traditions have rich oral and folk prehistoric traditions in their records and this attribute provides a substratum where their narrative patterns and paradigms can find a common ground. A Hebraic reading of the Bible does not exhaust the meaning of the biblical texts; on the other hand, an Indian reading of the Bible could bring more flesh and blood to the living text. Ancient Indian Kāvya Śāstra (Poetics) and its modern rendering narratology being multifarious and mutually integrative will be able to supply a variety of poetical tools and devices with which the great and vast miscellany of biblical narrative can be approached and appreciated. Indian religious tradition is more narrative/story rather than doctrinal or dogmatic. This demands an Indian reading of the Bible endowed with a narratological and synchronic approach to disentangle the biblical narrative from the burden of dogmas and doctrines and to re-launch its primordial narrative/story culture. The application of the canons of Indian Kāvya Śāstra with its narratological elucidations to the biblical narrative has categorically proved that it can open up a new horizon to an Indian reading of the Bible. Various such narrative approaches, heuristic devices and models thus evolved have been applied to selected narratives in the Davidic Episode of the Books of Samuel.

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Originally from Kudamuck, situated in the town of Pathanamthitta on the southern part of Kerala, India, G. Ayyaneth is a licentiate in biblical theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He received a diploma in German language (ZOP) from the Goethe Institute in Germany and a doctorate in biblical theology from the University of Fribourg. He is currently the director of Bethany Vedavijnana Peeth (BVP), an extension center of Jnana Deepa Vidayapeeth (JDV) or Pontifical Athenaeum in Pune, India, as well as a Catholic Religious Priest of Order of the Imitation of Christ (Bethany Ashram). Ayyaneth is also a columnist and writes articles in theological journals, along with poems and dramas in his mother tongue ‘Malayalam’.

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