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Monday, September 06, 2010


I'm reading some interesting fiction as I make my way through the Bible. I finished Willa Cather's Lost Lady and have started Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. Something I've noticed is that in the twentieth century literary works are very concerned with the what the characters are thinking and feeling. Much of the story is from the perspective of the characters' thoughts. By contrast, you very rarely get what the Biblical characters are thinking or what they are feeling. For example, you don't have any idea how Abraham feels taking Isaac up the mountain to be sacrificed. One irresistibly speculates about what is going on in those minds. Radiolab played a sermon delving into this beautifully. I suspect it is just the nature of Semitic story telling from 500 B.C.E. that the inner monologue isn't a typical device.

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