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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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Introduction

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The Biblical and the Indian literary traditions were two ancient and rich narrative streams of the Orient of almost contemporaneous origin, viz. ca. 1200 BCE–100 CE. It was a time when the intellectual evolution of the Orient had its highest momentum. The natural outcome was that the hitherto oral tradition started appearing in diverse literary forms and there emerged rich literary traditions both in secular and religious milieus. Though the Biblical and the Indian literary traditions had independent origins and growth in terms of spatial and cultural milieus, there are literary landscapes of confluence where the fabrics of their collective wisdom are interwoven. This opens up a variety of avenues for approaching biblical narrative in a wide context of Oriental literary tradition and especially from the vantage point of ancient Indian Kāvya Śāstra (Poetics).

General Purport and Prospects of This Study

A. The common ethos of the literary Orient offers tremendous scope for approaching biblical narrative from the point of view of ancient Indian poetics, which also forms part of the Oriental milieu.

B. Both biblical and Indian narrative traditions have rich oral and folk prehistoric traditions in their records. This attribute provides a substratum where their narrative patterns and paradigms can find a common ground. ← 1 | 2 →

C. Ancient Indian Kāvya Śāstra, being multifarious and mutually integrative, will be able to supply a variety of poetical tools and devices with which the great and...

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