• Focalization in the Old Testament Narratives with Specific Examples from the Book of Ruth

      Firth, David; Nazarov, Konstantin (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
      The works in the field of general narratology that have been written since the first introduction of the concept by Genette in 1972 demonstrate a great dynamic in the development of this concept. Unfortunately, the refinements of Genette’s theory often suffer from inconsistency of definitions and remain heuristic, which does not allow the dissemination of the achievements to other types of texts (for example, Old Testament narratives). In the field of biblical narratology the concept of focalization (especially its recent development) was largely overlooked, and the attempts to study the Old Testament narratives in relation to the notion of focalization are generally not accompanied by careful examination of the subject. The purpose of the present research is the consideration of the narratological concept of focalization with regard to the Book of Ruth. To this end, the research examines if recent narrative theories suggest a universal methodology of exploring focalization that can be equally applicable to any narrative texts (including Old Testament narratives) and what are the specifics of applying this methodology to the Old Testament narratives? To answer the question above, the research considers Wolf Schmid’s ideal genetic model of narrative constitution and Valeri Tjupa’s theory of eventfulness and narrative world pictures as universal models for studying focalization. With some modifications and refinements these ideas are transformed into a methodology of studying focalization in the Old Testament narratives. The application of the method to the Book of Ruth shows that on the level of selection of narrative information, the narrator selects sixteen episodes that constitute four narratological events that became the basis of the plot. Then, on the level of composition by the means of reported speech and the play of horizons, those episodes and events were placed in a certain order. Finally, on the level of presentation, these events were presented mainly in the scope of internal focalization, which as demonstrated in the work correlates with the use of the qatal form of the Hebrew verb. Since Schmid’s ideal genetic model of narrative constitution claims to be universal, the method of studying focalization can be equally applied to other Old Testament narratives. Tjupa’s theory of eventfulness and narrative world pictures can help to emphasize narratological events and to blueprint the thread of the narrative and logic of selectivity for those Old Testament narratives that do not have clear division into episodes and events. A subject of special interest is the question if the hypothesis about correlation between constructions with the qatal form of the Hebrew verb and internal focalization remains true to other Old Testament narratives.