Juxtaposition and the Elisha Cycle (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testamen)
by Rachelle Gilmour
Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark
Edition: - 2015
This monograph examines the juxtaposition of narrative units in biblical narrative and the effect this has on interpretation. Early rabbinical and inner-biblical interpretations suggest that juxtaposition was an intentional device used by biblical editors and authors to shape the meaning of their material. Therefore, this monograph develops a framework for recognising the ways in which adjacent units interpret and re-interpret one another and presents this framework as an important hermeneutical tool. Stories and episodes that are linked chronologically affect one another through a relationship of causes and consequences. The categories of contradiction, corroboration and question and answer are also used to describe the types of interaction between narrative units and demonstrate how such dialogues create new meaning. Indicators in the text that guide the audience towards the intended interpretation are identified in order that a 'poetics' of juxtaposition is developed. The theoretical basis established in the first half of the monograph is then applied to the Elisha cycle. Each episode is interpreted independently and then read in juxtaposition with the surrounding episodes, producing a fresh literary reading of the cycle. Furthermore, in order to demonstrate how juxtaposition functioned as a diachronic process, attention is given to the literary history of the cycle. We conjecture earlier interpretations of the Elisha episodes and compare them to the final form of the cycle. Finally, the Elisha cycle is itself a story juxtaposed with other stories and so the same principles of interpretation are used to suggest the meaning of the cycle within the book of Kings.