Индоевропейское языкознание и классическая филология - XXV. Материалы чтений, посвященных памяти профессора Иосифа Моисеевича Тронского, 21-23 июня 2021 г.
This paper is the third part of a series of articles aiming at introducing into scholarly usage a new concept, which we designate “symbolic tale” (ST). The term refers to a shorter and «uncrowded» prosaic literary genre, based on traditional folkloric and mythological images, which it reinterprets in order to match with actual and important ideological, religious or social tasks. These tasks are being solved in a narrative, by “a narrative demonstration”, i.e. by reciting a “story” rather than discursively. ST has a set of characteristic features, like discontineous flow of time combined with symbolic count of years and days, elliptical composition with two centres, “speaking names” etc. Excepting the Book of Ruth, all of the nine works that have been selected to demonstrate the phenomenon of a symbolic tale (Joseph and Aseneth, Book of Judith, The Aesop Romance, The Tale of Cupid and Psyche, Acts of Paul and Thecla,Narration of Our Father Agapius, Life and Martyrdom of Saint Martyrs Galaction and Epistema, Book or Ruth, the story of Susanna and the Elder [in Daniel 13]), belong to the turn of the eras and three traditions: Classical, Judeo150 Н. В. Брагинская, А. И. Шмаина-Великанова Hellenistic and Early Christian. They and have been studied by a multiyear seminar devoted to comparative research of Classical, Judeo- Hellenistic, and Early Christian prose. The present paper being a collaborative result of this seminar examines only two of ST, namely: The Book of Judith and the Old Testament Apocrypha Joseph and Aseneth and concentrates on identifying the mythological motifs and images that underlie the plot and make up its figurative fabric; for example, “wonderful spouse”, “non-decreasing food”, “invincible maiden-warrior”, “mother earth”, “death-temptress ”, etc. The paper demonstrates, how one and the same mythic pattern, for instance “woman-city”, acquires different interpretations depending on the ideological task of the specific ST.