n Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages - The semantic fields of seeing and oral communication in the Joseph narrative

Volume 33, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-0131


Lexemes from the semantic fields of seeing and oral communication occur in a unique manner in the Joseph narrative, i.e. they consistently appear at critical turning points in the different scenes, and are often accompanied by special semantic and sound phenomena. Therefore, it is proposed that these semantic fields have a close connection to the theme of this narrative. Words from these fields point to the central problem of the narrative which is concerned with the acts of vision and speech and the characters' own insight. The story begins with the symbolic dreams of Joseph, which are constituents in the field of seeing, and lead to negative communication between Joseph and his brothers. Subsequently the dreams lead to years of cessation of any communication between them. The story ends with the reunion between Joseph and his brothers in which they finally see him after a long period of separation and talk to him peacefully. Joseph recognises God's hidden presence through the symbolic dreams. As to the brothers, there is no explicit reference in the story to a development in their relationship with God.

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