Original Research

On the role of Susanna in Susanna: A Greimassian contribution

Dickh M. Kanonge, Pierre J. Jordaan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 3 | a1971 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.1971 | © 2014 Dickh M. Kanonge, Pierre J. Jordaan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 March 2013 | Published: 30 June 2014

About the author(s)

Dickh M. Kanonge, Faculty of Theology, North West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Pierre J. Jordaan, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


This article addresses the highly disputed distribution of roles in the story of Susanna. Susanna consists of a number of actors of whom only a few such as Susanna, the two elders, the Jewish people and Daniel are directly related to the central action of the story. With regard to roles of these actors in the story however, a question arises: ‘who is the subject of the story of Susanna?’ Most scholars question the attribution of the role of subject to Susanna.Their contention however, has not yet been sustained by convincing evidence stemming from the use of a suitable method.  This study attempts to fill this gap by using the Greimassian approach to narratives, as refined by Everaert-Desmedt. The approach comprises three levels of analysis: the figurative, the narrative and the thematic. The contribution focuses only on the narrative level of analysis, particularly on the actantial model because the main role of this structure is to reveal different functions of actors called here actants. It is the contention here that following the actantial model of the Greimassian approach of analysis Susanna emerges as the subject of the aim concern of the story.


Susanna; Greimassian approach; narrative analysis; actantial roles


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