Perspective and attribution : the cognitive representation of biblical narrative

J.M. Sanders

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Frequently, a narrative leaves room for different interpretations. Perspectival ambiguities, in particular, may lead to different interpretations of narrative discourse. In this paper, it is argued that the analysis of perspectival ambiguities can be grounded in a cognitive-linguistic approach to mental space representations or embedded domains. In such cases, readers may arrive at different possible domain structures as a representation of the narrative. This model is exemplified by the study of the biblical story Solomon's Judgment. The domain structure analysis offers explanations for different ways in which translators and readers represent ambiguities in this story. Eleven translations were compared. In a pilot experiment, students of Tilburg University were randomly assigned to an idiolect translation group (N= 20), or a dynamic-equivalent translation group (N = 20). Differences in the students' representation of the story were found. The implications of these findings are discussed and re-examined by means of a second experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-80
JournalPoetics : international review for the theory of literature
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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