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Title page for ETD etd-03292010-110411

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Harkins, Robert Justin
Author's Email Address robert.j.harkins@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03292010-110411
Title Jonah and the Prophetic Character
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jack M. Sasson Committee Chair
Annalisa Azzoni Committee Member
Douglas Knight Committee Member
Herbert Marbury Committee Member
Volney Gay Committee Member
  • Jonah
  • Propp
  • biblical folklore
Date of Defense 2010-03-26
Availability unrestricted
This study argues that the story of the book of Jonah may be interpreted as a transformation of a familiar topos in which the protagonist undergoes a rite de passage during a quest that takes him towards a foreign land. While in a liminal "no man's land" the hero overcomes several challenges before reintegrating with humanity in an act of communitas, but Jonah fails in this and the prophet is consequently depicted as an antihero. To demonstrate how the story's structure adapts recognizable components from this topos, I have compared the Jonah story with two other fantastic tales from the ancient Near East. This portrayal of Jonah reflects the unsettled social situation in which the narrative took form, and I suggest several ways the story might be interpreted in this context.
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