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Abstract

In recounting or representing speech, both oral storyteller and literary narrator as well as the modern translator have at their disposal similar interpretive choices in how to represent it, ranging from mimesis to paraphrase to a simple notice that speech occurred. Most commonly, these metapragmatic comments take the shape of quotative frames, which introduce the represented speech and specify various pragmatic features of it, such as the original speaker, the original addressee, the nature of the speech event, or the reason for the speech event. The metapragmatic variety of quotative frames encountered within the Hebrew Bible has usually been described as the work of authors/redactors and attributed to written literary style. In this paper we first describe the metapragmatic shapes of quotative frames in Biblical Hebrew narrative and their discourse pragmatic functions. We then review recent evidence which suggests that at least some of the metapragmatic variety in biblical narrative reflects the oral strategies of representation employed by the storytellers/performers of originally oral texts. Finally, we explore the ways in which modern translators of the biblical text also engage in interpretation (or, a metapragmatic analysis) of the speech events portrayed in the text, using the story of the rape of Dinah (Genesis 34) as an example.
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