By K. Lawson Younger
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Extra info for Ancient Conquest Accounts: A Study in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical History Writing (JSOTSup)
But all historical narratives can be analyzed in terms of the modes of figurative language use that they variously favor. Thus figures of speech are the Very marrow of the historian's individual style'. Remove them from his discourse, and you destroy much of its impact as an 'explanation' in the form of an 'idiographic' description. The theory of figures of speech permits us 'to track the historian in his encodation of his message'. ' It simply means that the interpreter of the historical text must work that much harder at the interpretive process.
It is 'controlled not by the concerns of aesthetics, nor by 1. Preliminary Issues 35 the symbolic nature of a plot, but by the chronological stages or cause-effect sequences of events'. Hayden White has recently argued that one of the primary ways of presenting a coherent history is in the form of a narrative: I treat the historical work as what it most manifestly is: a verbal structure in the form of a narrative prose discourse. Histories ... combine a certain amount of'data', theoretical concepts for 'explaining* these data, and a narrative structure for their presentation ...
This objection should be spurned. There is no question that there are differences between the Hebrew histories and their ancient Near Eastern counterparts, just as there are differences between each ancient Near Eastern culture's history writing. Moreover, it is only through comparison that these differences can be discerned. 128 One area of the ancient world which will not be included in this contextual investigation is Greece. One might wonder— especially in light of Van Seters's recent work—why this area will not be included for he contends: it would appear to be self-evident and entirely natural for biblical scholars who treat the subject of the origins of history writing in ancient Israel to give some attention to the corresponding rise of history writing in Greece and to the work of Herodotus in particular (p.