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Recapitulatio: Eine rhetorische Technik als Literaturkonzept

Lössl, Josef 2015. Recapitulatio: Eine rhetorische Technik als Literaturkonzept. Stenger, Jan R., ed. The Library of the Other Antiquity / Spätantike Konzeptionen von Literatur, Bibliothek der klassischen Altertumswissenschaften, vol. 149. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, pp. 163-182.

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Typology has long been recognized as a literary technique to relate symbolic motifs (drawn from mythical or prophetic literature) to historical events and figures in order to endow these with additional meaning and purpose. For example, patriotic poetry in 18th century Britain related Britannia's oak tree to Athene's olive tree, thus suggesting comparable historic significance regarding the two great naval powers, classical Athens and early modern Britain. This introduces an element of creativity which in modern literature is either minimized (in historical-critical studies) or maximized (in modern fiction). Thus in spite of being aware of typology, modern readers have found it difficult to assess pre-modern, including late-antique, literature, which may not be easily categorised as either historical or fictional. This chapter illustrates this problem by reporting on an ongoing debate about two of Jerome's three 'Lives of Hermits', the 'Life of Paul' and the 'Life of Hilarion', and the degree to which they are held to represent historical reality or to create fiction. The chapter suggests that trying to understand these works with the help of typology may go a long way towards appreciating their value both as historical accounts and as literature. The chapter further introduces a special case of typology, 'recapitulatio', that is the summary of something fully represented (revealed) elsewhere, which a late-antique author such as Jerome clearly knew and skillfully employed. Jerome's depiction of Hilarion, for example, not only includes features 'typical' of other ascetics as well, but also, in a summary fashion, properties that might anticipate Christ at his second coming. Seeing such a technique at work may explain, in an exemplary fashion, what literature in Late Antiquity was, how it worked, and how it was transformed, for example, by a phenomenon such as early Christianity.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
Language other than English: German
Publisher: Universitätsverlag Winter
ISBN: 9783825365233
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Last Modified: 14 Apr 2020 15:45

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