Strategies of Persuasion in Herodotus’ Histories and Genesis–Kings

Evoking Reality in Ancient Narratives of a Past


In Strategies of Persuasion in Herodotus’ Histories and Genesis–Kings, Eva Tyrell comparatively analyzes narrative means in two monumental ancient texts about the past. Combining a narratological approach with insights of modern historical theory and biblical scholarship, she investigates patterns of narrative persuasion as a trans-cultural phenomenon and their connection with ancient concepts of reality and truth. The study contrasts differences in fundamental narrative structures of both narratives, such as mediacy and discursive versus diegetic text portions. It explores the role of material remains mentioned in the accounts to evoke or even create the reality of a past.

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Eva Tyrell holds a PhD in Jewish Studies and Classics (cotutelle Bern and Tel Aviv University). She taught at the University of Bern, has published articles as well as translations, and currently works at the Munich City Archives.

PART 1: Premises and Concepts

1 Persuasion and Comparison
 1 A Comparative Approach
 2 The Writers’ Awareness for Their Craft
 3 Characteristics of the Sources

2 Method, Objectives, Theory
 1 Do Historical Narratives Employ Specific Narrative Strategies?
 2 Comparing Texts while Granting Them Different Criteria of Validity and Plausibility
 3 Strategies of Persuasion as Accessibility Relations
 4 Excursus: Ancient Greek Philosophy and Rhetorical Theory
 5 Limitation to Narratorial Discourse
 6 Additional Premises
 7 The Constitutive Role of the Recipient
 8 Usefulness of the Distinction between Narrator and Author

PART 2: Fundamentals of Narrative Structure in Herodotus’ Histories and Genesis–Kings

3 Highly Different Modes of Narration and Mediacy
 1 Introduction
 2 Mediacy in Gen–Kings and Herodotus
 3 Two Contrasting Modes of Mediation

4 Connecting and Disconnecting Story-World and Discourse-World
 1 Indication of Temporal Distance between the Discourse-Now and the Past
 2 The Proportion of Discursive Parts
 3 The Use of Direct and Indirect Speech
 4 Characters Indirectly Addressing the Extradiegetic Audience
 5 Narrative Mode and Source Criticism

PART 3: Varied Functions of Objects as Means of Persuasion


5 Material Remains as Authentication
 1 Definition of Empirical Evidence
 2 Overview on the Expressions of Continuity in Herodotus and Gen–Kings
 3 Shared Characteristics of Empirical Evidence
 4 Objects Used as Support for Established Knowledge about the Past
 5 Objects Used as a Source of Information
 6 The Importance of Material Remains in the Histories Is Relative
 7 Identifying Function
 8 Conclusion

6 Kinds of Presence—Do Objects Have to Be Accessible to Function as Authentication?
 1 Border Cases: the Absence and Presence of Continuation into the Present
 2 The Rhetoric of Lost or Hidden Monuments
 3 Formal Criteria for Authentication Not Parsed as Evidence If Other Factors Predominate
 4 Does Vivid Narration Suffice to Persuade of a Past Reality?
 5 Relics as Witness in a Legal Context
 6 Texts as Documents and Physical Relics
 7 Conclusion

7 Combinations of Normative Persuasion and Authentication
 1 Evidence for Supernatural Events as a Claim to Overall Significance
 2 More Relics Invested with Both Empirical and Normative Plausibility
 3 Conclusion

8 Objects as Visuals and Capturing a Condensed Meaning
 1 Objects as Visuals for Motivations and Concepts
 2 Objects as Expression of Condensed Meaning
 3 Conclusion

 1 Selected Material Remains in the Biblical Account of a Past
 2 Selected Material Remains in Herodotus’ Histories
Scholars and students of ancient history, classics, Jewish and biblical studies, as well as those interested in comparative literary criticism regarding discourses of knowledge and factuality.
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