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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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Foreword by Prof. Dr. Philippe Lefebvre O. P.


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On the Threshold of a Thesis

In 2008, George Ayyaneth (GA) presented, at our faculty, a dissertation for the licentiate in Theology entitled, An Appraisal of the Western and Indian Narratological Approaches in View of Its Application on the Old Testament Narratives, with Special Reference to Mike Bal and K. Ayyapa Paniker. This was but the first step to a work of far greater depth which led to his thesis, presented at our faculty in 2013: “BIBLICAL NARRATIVE (OT) FROM THE VANTAGE POINT OF ANCIENT INDIAN KĀVYA ŚĀSTRA, A Literary Investigation into the Extent of the Ancient Indian Kāvya Śāstra (Poetics) in the Appreciation of the Biblical Narrative (OT) with Special Reference to the Davidic Episode in the Books of Samuel.” If some students of the doctorate bring their research work to an end with the completion of their thesis, others—and GA is certainly one of these—open themselves to a whole life of research work: they have found their way. They still have a lot more to say; they will be of immense help to other students. GA’s setting himself the task of studying biblical texts in the light of the Scriptures of ancient India struck me as extremely interesting. ← xix | xx →

Inspiration for an Indian Approach to the Bible

It would not be out of place to say a word about GA’s interest in this kind of...

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