Original Research - Special Collection: Septuagint SA

Être and paraître: The games of truth in the book of Susanna

Dickh M. Kanonge
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a4940 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.4940 | © 2018 Dickh M. Kanonge | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 February 2018 | Published: 07 August 2018


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Abstract

Recent literary methods have opened new possibilities in reading and understanding the logic of narratives. The Greimassian approach offers such a possibility. Though Greimas’ approach is by now accepted as part of the canon of narratology, some of its components have not yet received due attention. This is the case with his ‘veridictory square’, a diagram that applies especially to texts where oppositions such as truth-falsehood, hero-villain and subject-anti-subject are prominent themes. This article aims to demonstrate that these kinds of narratives, such as Susanna, do not concern themselves with objective truth but persuasion about truth, that is, veridiction. Truth telling in those stories corresponds to manipulation, exercising a particular cognitive doing or causing to appear as true. In other words, such a manipulation of truth aims at causing people to believe. Using Greimas’ veridictory square built on opposing modalities of being (être) and seeming (paraître), the contrast between reality and appearance, this article provides insight into the games of truth in Susanna and thus offers a new inspiring way of reading these kinds of stories.

Keywords

Susanna; Greimas; veridictory square; Apocrypha; LXX

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