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Old Testament Exegesis in: International Review of Biblical Studies, Volume 54 ()
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Story Telling and Redaction: Varieties and Vagaries of Language Usage in the Exodus Narrative
Israel in Egypt: Reading Exodus 1-2 (JSOT Supplement Series)
The next unit is set off from this one by the introduction of a character, the king, who breaks with the past because he 'does not know Joseph' 1. The second episode is signalled by a a indicating a gnanaor open paragraph. Narrative Structure and Gaps Deep Amid a welter of competing terms stand two fundamental parts in the construction of a narrative. Every plot can be shorn of its distinctive dress in features like setting and characterization to reveal basic compositional 'units',4 'structural building blocks'5 or 'functions'. Specifically Gen.
On 'linking-words' or 'motscrochet', see H. However, C. For our purposes here, his most appropriate 'critere d'ordre formel' is that the Hmre can introduce pericopes that are important for the liturgy, theology and history of the people p. McElwain Semeia 10 , p. Conroy, Absalom Absalom! On 'fonctions': V. Propp, Morphologic du conte trans.
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An extended example of the difference between plot and basic composition is offered by Vladimir Propp, who did work on the patterns underpinning the Russian heroic fairy tale. Suppose that a dragon steals the king's daughter. The king seeks help, and the son of a peasant decides to find her. He set outs on his journey, and along the way he encounters an old woman who proposes that he tame a herd of savage horses.
He is successful, and the old woman gives him one of the animals as a gift; the horse takes him to an island where he finds the kidnapped princess. The hero slays the dragon, returns home, and the king rewards him by offering him his daughter's hand. This is the 'plot' of the tale. The 'composition' on the other hand may be delineated as follows: some misfortune takes place; the hero is asked to help; he goes off on his quest; along the way he encounters someone who puts him to the test and then rewards him with some magical agent; thanks to this magical medium he finds the lost object; the hero returns and is rewarded.
Legitimately one asks if this Proppian structural-formalism can be applied to Scripture.
In a review of the various attempts to do so, PJ. Milne concludes that most fail because they overlook Propp's insistence that the details of his conclusions were valid only for heroic 1. Propp, Morphologic, p. Jason, cited in Milne, Vladimir Propp, p. Furthermore, narrative macro-structure is usually examined on a broad scale 'to study the universal, or at least general, properties of literature',2 for example to classify stories3 or whole typologies of plot.
Among the censures of structuralism by G. Strickland is the judgment that—beyond the level of the single word—it ignores an utterance's setting, context and therefore its intention. Two biblical chapters are under scrutiny, not entire genres. No master theory 1. Propp, p. Fokkema and E. Hurst, 2nd edn,  , p. But he also said that the aim of this kind of analysis remains a question p. Chatman, Story, pp.
On this subject, and about Exod. Coats, that Moses' story is an heroic saga, and note his consequent debate with M.
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enter site Bremond, 'La logique des possibles narratifs', Communications 8 , p. Elles fournissent au narrateur le modele et la matiere d'un devenir organise1 qui lui est indispensable et qu'il serait incapable de trouver ailleurs. Strickland, Structuralism or Criticism! Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , p. Benveniste; Strickland, Structuralism, p. Doleiel quoted in Fokkema and Kunne-Ibsch, Theories, p.
Every narrative act is simultaneously norm-obeying, normcreating and norm-destroying. Following Propp's principles, we will strip the characters' actions into their component parts, but without trying to impose Propp's own function categories or induce any critical generalities from the results. Such an application of Propp is not unfair to him; as the structuralist R. Scholes says, the greatest contribution of Propp's method is simply its exhortation to 'look at plot-functions and character-roles with an eye for their rigorous and narrowly defined interconnections'.
The segment has a plot, if plot is defined as 'the dynamic sequential element in narrative literature'. From this text alone we do not know why the sons of Israel went down to Egypt or why their descendants should reproduce so extraordinarily. And without that information we can neither understand the plot nor reduce it to its deep structural functions.
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The narrative requires us to supply data from the previous pericope. We must remember the story of Israel and his sons and the promise that God made to propagate Abraham's descendants. And then we can detect that Exod. They are properly called a set of twin functions because they are matching and interdependent actions. Scholes and R. The idea of twin functions is not Propp's.