Novel interpretations: An examination in interpretive approaches to the Bible in the light of two modern novels

Maycock, Jane Ellen (1998) Novel interpretations: An examination in interpretive approaches to the Bible in the light of two modern novels. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This work centres on the reading of two contemporary novels which rewrite the biblical story of David from 2 Samuel and the opening two chapters of 1 Kings: God Knows by Joseph Heller, and Bathsheba by Torgny Lindgren. The purpose of the thesis is to examine the relationship between each of them and the biblical narrative on which they are based. Neither of the novels claims to come from the context of a practising faith community, and both of them undermine the image of David as a holy king. The argument of this thesis is that they should not however be dismissed as blasphemous, but that they have a valid place in the broad field of biblical interpretation. The Introduction sets the context for the study by considering comments made by T.S. Eliot about contemporary literature and the relationship between religion and literature, These issues are considered in the light of more recent work in the area of literary approaches to the Bible by such scholars as Robert Alter and Meir Sternberg. Chapter One then offers a survey of the different ways in which the western Christian tradition has approached the biblical text at different stages, the emphasis being on the underlying philosophy or concern reflected at any given time. This is contrasted in Chapter Two with a Jewish approach to the text, focusing particularly on aggadic midrash as a possible model for understanding the relationship between the biblical text and the two novels which are the subject of this study. In Chapters Three and Four, each of the novels is considered in some detail, with some preliminary reflections on the different ways in which they approach the biblical narrative. In Chapter Five the results of this examination are assessed. Similarities and differences between midrash and the novels are considered, in the light of which proposals are made for understanding the relationship between these two novels and the biblical text.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Comparative literature
Date of Award: 1998
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1998-71316
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 10:49
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71316

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