The book has a good title that promises a lot but you understand at once on entering the first page that the book is directly derived from Aristotle's Poetics and his categories. The main category the author studies here is that of point of view. From whose point of view does the narrative come? The conclusion is: multiple points of view constantly shifting. Then the next step is to analyze the biblical text - taken the way it is as one whole - and to demonstrate the various points of view in a chapter or a verse and what it may reveal about the meaning. In that perspective the author identifies the particle "hinneh" as a deictic particle that centers the eyes of the reader on something happening in the text, and also as a particle that may shift the point of view from a person to another within the narrative. Hence for the author this particle is double, twofold. Unluckily that is the limit the book cannot even identify. The two uses of "hinneh" are the same: a deictic particle that points at something happening in the text, an event ir a shift of point of view or narrator with a new event. And in this second case it also shifts tenses from past (narrative) to present (obviously modal). The author is no linguist and since Aristotle's Poetics totally neglect the linguistic dimension of poetry, the musical dimension of poetry as pure incidentally linguistic sound, Adele Berlin is not incited to ask the right questions, and the linguistic element "hinneh" will remain the only one studied in this approach. The only other linguistic element is purely lexical: repetition of words and phrases and their eventual variations. I was expecting a lot more and particularly how the language in its phonological, lexical, syntactic and semantic music(s) builds the meaning of the text. Then, due to his own shortcoming, the author can only compare his approach with other approaches, such as the historical and/or formalistic interpretative ones. But that does not lead very far, except to the conclusion that the Biblical text is ambiguous, which is a pure truism: a great text, literary or other, is necessarily ambiguous because it contains several points of view and it requires several reading points of view, because a text is a voyeuristic experience and its greatness comes from the multifariousness of both the writing and the reading voyeurisms that are always at work in any text (since language in all its parameters is randomly symbolical of something it is not by nature and even essence) and particularly a literary or religious text. Then a comparison with Homer (whose texts did not have at all the same value or position in the Greek cultural consciousness as the Old Testament had within the religious domain of the cultural consciousness of the Israelis, or Jews) shows how the biblical text is essentially founded on the background, on subjective elements and never on precise and luminous descriptions of details. But that conclusion is slightly limited in scope and results and falls off a long way from what the Biblical text is and how it works.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines