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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 Six. The Main Features of Indian Narratology towards the Appreciation of the Davidic Episode


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The Main Features of Indian Narratology towards the Appreciation of the Davidic Episode

Another model with which this study approaches the Davidic Episode in view of its appreciation would be the one proposed by K. Ayyappa Paniker. It consists of Interiorisation, Serialisation, Stylisation and Improvisation, Elasticisation of time, Fantasisation, Cyclicalisation, Allegorisation, Anonymisation, and Spatialisation.

These Narratological devices have been drawn out of the classical and folk literary traditions of India which come under the general category of Indian poetics. It can be validly asked, why yet another theoretical approach when we have already the classical theories such as dhvani, alaṅkāra, rasa, etc. As Paniker rightly points out, it is an “attempt to fill the lacunae in the critical tradition to supply the missing link” (2003 (IN): 3). Moreover, it is an effort to categorise the main tools and devices employed in the Indian narrative tradition. Such categorisation makes their application feasible and makes the savouring of the text possible and meaningful. Therefore, this study strongly believes that the application of these Narratological devices will surely serve to a certain extent towards a similar savouring of the biblical narrative as well.

An overview of the basic constituents of each of those narrative features has already been presented in the theoretical part of this model (Ch.3). To avoid repetition, an abstract of them will be given in the following section, before proceeding to the textual...

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