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


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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Chapter One. The Point of Departure for an Indian Approach to Biblical Narrative


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The Point of Departure for an Indian Approach to Biblical Narrative

A call and craving for ‘holistic’ reading of the Bible is very much in at a time when narrative techniques take avatars ever new in a world of cyber communication. Its range of research involves real author—implied author, real reader—implied reader and real text—superimposed text. However, in the customer-friendly and user-friendly modern world, the real reader gets prominence. The lack of such prominence given to the real reader is a fault of which biblical interpretations have been accused.

It is one of the ironies of much writing on biblical interpretation that real readers are often simply assumed to be able and willing to step up the insights of theoretical analysis of biblical texts and embrace them somehow without regard to questions of their character, location, or other influencing factors. (Briggs 2010:207)

Finding ways and means to confront this issue in the Indian context is the main concern of this study. An Indian reading of the Bible, taking the Indian reader into serious consideration, calls for a narrative-literary-story approach in the first instance. This chapter will pave the way for such an attempt. ← 11 | 12 →

Biblical Narrative in the Realm of Literary Appreciation

The overall theme of this study presents the Bible as a literary work of art which can be reckoned in the realm of literary...

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