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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 Four. The Compositional Coherence of the Books of Samuel on the Framework of the Four-S Model


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The Compositional Coherence of the Books of Samuel on the Framework of the Four-S Model

The Four-S Model proposed by this study can be rightly applied to the Davidic Episode in order to show the mechanism that is at work in the compositional process which gave birth to such a narrative artifact of archaic nature. For a historical critic, the Davidic Episode is just part of a bigger Deuteronomistic history (Joshua through 2Kings) which is made up of conflicting sources. On the other hand, the Four-S Model is an invitation to look upon them as complimentary sources. The confluence of those disparate sources was something ineluctable in the dynamic process of narrative taking shape in and through the temporal and spatial milieus. It is like the river Ganges emerging from the Himalayas and flowing down to its low plains, merging various sources in its course so as to make a whole. The varying sources may differ in the matter of content, quantity, quality, etc. In fact, that is what makes the river, the river Ganges. In the same way, the Davidic Episode is also a story which emerged from a narrative germ and came into its full entity, merging narrative sources of varying nature in content and form. As has already been proposed, these sources can be classified into four major groups: Śruti, Sūtra, Smṛti and Śāstra. While their occurrence in the ancient Indian tradition can be...

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