Russell L. Meek, «Intertextuality, Inner-Biblical Exegesis, and Inner-Biblical Allusion: The Ethics of a Methodology», Vol. 95 (2014) 280-291
Intertextuality has been used to label a plethora of investigations into textual relationships. During the past few decades, the debate regarding the definition of intertextuality has largely been resolved, yet scholars continue to misuse the term to refer to diachronic and/or author-centered approaches to determining textual relationships. This article calls for employing methodological vocabulary ethically by outlining the primary differences between - and different uses for - intertextuality, inner-biblical exegesis, and inner-biblical allusion.
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intentionally using a previous text for a particular purpose. However, there
are cases in which scholars argue that a receptor text alludes to a source
text for reasons other than exegesis. Perhaps an author is making a simple
allusion or attempting to bring an earlier text to the reader’s mind. In such
cases, inner-biblical exegesis is insufficient, for the scholar is not arguing
that the receptor text modifies a previous text.
IV. Inner-Biblical Allusion
Inner-biblical allusion and inner-biblical exegesis are often used in-
terchangeably because their methodologies are similar; however, the dis-
tinctions between their theses require that they be employed in different
contexts. In distinction from inner-biblical exegesis, inner-biblical allusion
sets out to determine whether a receptor text has in some way referred to a
source text, but the goal is not to demonstrate that the receptor text has modi-
fied the source text. Rather, with inner-biblical allusion the goal is simply
to demonstrate that a later text in some way references an earlier text 46.
Methodologically, inner-biblical allusion employs many of the same
techniques as inner-biblical exegesis. Thus, shared language is of utmost
importance for determining the presence of an allusion in a source text 47.
As with inner-biblical exegesis, the likelihood of allusion increases in re-
lation to the amount of shared vocabulary as well as the nature of said
vocabulary. That is, common vocabulary is less helpful in determining
allusions than is unique or rare vocabulary 48. Additionally, Benjamin
Sommer points out that a source text may insert an intervening word be-
tween two words that appear together in a source text or use various
rhyming techniques such as assonance and dissonance to cause the reader
to think of a similar sounding word in a previous context 49.
Thematic and contextual elements also play an important role in de-
termining influence. Thus, if a word or group of words appear in a similar
D.L. Petersen argues that allusion is not necessarily intentional: “the
presence of echo in the derivative text does not constitute a consequential reuse
of the earlier text. It is more of a literary fossil than a living entity in the new
text”; see D.L. PETERSEN, “Zechariah 9–14: Methodological Reflections”,
Bringing out the Treasure. Inner Biblical Allusion in Zechariah 9–14 (eds.
M.J. BODA – M.H. FLOYD) (JSOTSS 370; London 2003) 210-224, here 212.
See LEONARD, “Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions”, 241-265. How-
ever, Noble has pointed out some of the difficulties with over-reliance on
shared vocabulary (NOBLE, “Esau, Tamar, and Joseph”).
LEONARD, “Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions”, 251.
LEONARD, “Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions”, 159-160.