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Translators as Storytellers

A Study in Septuagint Translation Technique

Series:

John A. Beck

In the third century B.C.E., translators began retelling the stories of the Hebrew Bible in Greek. The Septuagint was born but its analysis had just begun. To date, most Septuagint translation technique analysis has focused on the linguistic sensitivity of these translators, but there is more to storytelling than linguistics. Translators as Storytel lers addresses the literary sensitivity of the translators, thus, expanding the tradition of translation technique analysis to include the translator’s replication of characterization, time, the patterning play of words, and the artful use of geography.

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Chapter Three: The Storyteller and Narrative Criticism 65

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m CHAPTER THREE The Storyteller and Narrative Criticism If we were doing translation technique analysis in the traditional way, this study would be over. But since the traditional form of analysis has failed to fully illuminate the translator as storyteller, we now pursue our investigation with the assistance of narrative criticism. This chapter will begin with a brief introduction to narrative criticism. Following that overview, we will examine the components of narrative criticism that will receive attention in our analysis. Through this analysis, we will identify prominent, narrative features of the Hebrew stories and measure the strategic, literary impact of the composer's artistry. Then the replication, change or elimination of the same features will be pursued in the Greek story. Through this process, we will assess the contribution of narrative criticism in measuring the translators as storytellers. Introduction to Narrative Criticism Narrative criticism assumes that the biblical texts are first and foremost literary texts. The authors are self-conscious composers who carefully select both the content and the form which the reader will experience from the possible historical events and available literary 66 The Storyteller and Narrative Criticism options.' Fundamental to the appreciation of narrative criticism is the realization that an event may be portrayed in more than one way. Thus we will analyze not just what is being said (content) but how it is being said (form). In his seminal work on the topic of narrative criticism, Robert Alter defines the literary approach in this way. B; literary analysis I...

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