Dialogism, Monologism, and Cultural Literacy: Classical Hebrew Literature and Readers' Epistemic Paradigms

Terje Stordalen

Abstract


This essay explores the question of a genealogy for dialogical thought and literature, as well as for its opposite mode: monological thought and writing. Mikhail Bakhtin argued that dialogical literature existed in antiquity, but did not elaborate much on this question and only briefly mentioned classical Hebrew examples. In fact, Bakhtin often construed the bible as the prime monological texts of European culture. Large parts of biblical Hebrew literature could, however, be seen as fundamentally dialogical. The dominance that monological modes of thought and writing (and reading!) exert today seems to rely to a great extent upon the spread of cultural literacy. If so, the monological bible is hardly more than a few centuries old.

Keywords


Bakhtin, dialogism, monologism, Hebrew

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391