Joachim J. Krause, «Aesthetics of Production and Aesthetics of Reception in Analyzing Intertextuality: Illustrated with Joshua 2», Vol. 96 (2015) 416-427
That intertextuality has come into vogue in Hebrew Bible scholarship is hardly surprising given some general trends in the field. In fact, the reconstruction of redactional activity and 'Fortschreibung' as well as inner-biblical interpretation are heavily dependent on the perception of intertextual relationships. But therein lies the problem. Has the perceived relationship indeed been established by the author of one of the biblical texts in question (aesthetics of production), or does it merely lie in the eye of the beholder (aesthetics of reception)? Two competing claims regarding an intertextual relationship of Joshua 2 are singled out for discussion.
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417 AESTHETICS OF PRODUCTION AND AESTHETICS OF RECEPTION 417
developed 3. For the sake of convenience, these concepts of intertextuality
may be labeled structuralist or hermeneutic 4. Aiming at textual analysis
proper, they focus on written texts; they presuppose that texts are written
by authors pursuing a certain intention vis-à-vis their addressees; and, as
a consequence, they look for intertextual references established by the
author of a given text. To put my point bluntly: analyzing intertextual re-
lationships within the Hebrew Bible, we are served better by the second
set of concepts.
II. Analysis of Intertextual Relationships within the Hebrew Bible
But what is an intertextual relationship within the Hebrew Bible, and
what is not? In an age of electronic concordances, we are quick to note
affinities between texts. But are they always significant? And significant
for what? After all, there is more than one explanation for such affinities 5.
If two texts belong to the same system, any affinity between them
which betrays that system cannot be counted as evidence for a proposed
intertextual relationship. For example, two texts written in the same lan-
guage may feature the exact same idiomatic stock phrase and still be in-
dependent of each other. This holds true for two texts belonging to the
same genre or addressing the same topic as well.
If none of the above (affinity due to common language, genre, or topic)
applies, there is reason to assume that the affinity in question is a textual
affinity, that is to say, that one of the texts influenced the author of the
This is not taken into account by MEEK, “Intertextuality”, 282-284. Fol-
lowing the lead of B.D. SOMMER, A Prophet Reads Scripture. Allusion in Isa-
iah 40–66 (Stanford, CA 1998) 6-9 and others, Meek argues for a narrow
definition of intertextuality which excludes the realm of “author-centered”
studies altogether. Admittedly, this allows for a neat distinction. Yet I would
be reluctant to draw this distinction, for it deprives whole schools of literary
studies of their own terminology; see, e.g., the pertinent contributions in BROICH
– PFISTER (eds.), Intertextualität; J. KLEIN – U. FIX (eds.), Textbeziehungen.
Linguistische und literaturwissenschaftliche Beiträge zur Intertextualität (Tü-
bingen 1997); H.F. PLETT (ed.), Intertextuality (Berlin 1991), to name but
three classic volumes.
Following PFISTER, “Konzepte der Intertextualität”, 1-30.
See the recent discussion in KRAUSE, Exodus und Eisodus, 46-66. See
also B.D. SOMMER, “Exegesis, Allusion and Intertextuality in the Hebrew
Bible. A Response to Lyle Eslinger”, VT 46 (1996) 479-489; ID., A Prophet
Reads Scripture, 6-31; J.M. LEONARD, “Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions.
Psalm 78 as a Test Case”, JBL 127 (2008) 241-265; and the seminal study by
R.B. HAYS, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven, CT 1989).