Discourse analysis of biblical Hebrew texts: a stylistics based on systemic linguistics for textual analysis
MetadataShow full item record
The thesis is written against a fairly recent background of dispute and acrimony centring on the analysis and interpretation of secular texts using either the long-established, literary-critical approach, or the newer, stylistics approach based on m o d e m linguistics. Linguistic stylistics seeks to relate the observations of literary criticism rigorously to the linguistic infra-structure. The thesis sets out to test a form of stylistics based on systemic linguistics, a linguistics originating with J. R. Firth and developed especially by M. A. K. Halliday. It is ideally suited to the interpretation of all kinds of texts, because it is based on a semanticized grammar, i.e. it relates grammar to meaning and to social context and use. The thesis explores how the language of a text constructs meaning, and stylistics is offered as a methodology to evaluate the detailed data of linguistic analysis and to articulate the relationshipbetween the given of a text and the intuitions of the reader. It does not eschew polysemy, which is of the very nature of texts, especially literary ones, and a major constituent in the pleasure of reading, but explores the limits set by the language to interpretation. I have applied it to a broad range of excerpts from Biblical Hebrew writings covering narrative, conversation,persuasion, and poetry. Stylistics is not meant to replace or subordinate other approaches, but is a preliminary and complementary method, demanding of the interpreter a serious regard for language.