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The Semantic, Rhetorical and Argumentative Organisation of Marulić's Parables
Puni tekst: pdf (161 KB),
Str. 137 - 165
This paper investigates the principles of the semantic organisation of Marulić’s parables and the interpretative models associated with them. This is done firstly through a short look at Marulić’s and general terminological and conceptual definitions of the parable, then through a summary examination of the thematic and macro-composition plan of the parables in the collection, as well as their functional orientation. The further course of the research is directed towards the problematisation of the relations between the literal and the figurative meanings in the parables, which enables us to systematise Marulić’s parables into several relatively homogenous groups. Finally, attention is drawn to the rhetorical and argumentative orientation of these parables, which is set in advance by the parable narrative tradition and confirmed by Marulić’s specific requirement for direct action upon the recipient. The rhetorical and argumentative orientation of Marulić’s parables is confirmed by the choice of the most common low mimetic manner of narrating, which creates the fundamental precondition for imitability, and is causally linked with the generally accepted low character of the parable genre, as well as its horizontal orientation to all sectors of the folk. This does not mean, however, that Marulić meant his parables only for the simple, as he says specifically in his dedication, but, on the contrary, he had in mind recipients who were well versed in the tradition of the allegorical interpretation of the Bible.
The dichotomy of principle - whether Marulić’s parables have a structure of the comparison or the allegory according to Jülicher’s postulates about Jesus’s parables in the Gospels has proved inadequate. At the second level of analysis arises the question of whether in the process of interpretation, explicitly and step by step, he carries out a literal allegorisation and sets up allegorical equations for all the units in question, sets up allegorical equivalences only for the crucial semantic units leaving the others implicitly involved in the discursively linked judgements, or leaves them out completely, sticking only to the central item of the likeness. Marulić’s parables essential have a duality of representation: of the literal and of the figurative. They are divided only in the interpretative proceeding. To discern the laws obtaining between Marulić’s interpretational models and the semantic organisation of the individual parables they are applied to is possible only with a comparison of the relations between the literal and the transferred meaning in the parable with their actualisation in the actual procedure of interpretation. Whether the spiritual (the tropological — moral) meaning is given simultaneously with the literal (the ethical teaching is gathered directly on the surface, i. e. on the literal level of meaning, from the procedure or personal features of the persons that carry out the action), or whether the spiritual meaning is revealed only in the process of interpretation when the literal significance is replaced completely by the spiritual, the parable and its interpretation are primarily imagined as a single unit. From this aspect Marulić’s interpretation cannot be explained as a supplement (Jülicher). His parables demand in advance an interpretation that is shaped as an auto-hermeneutic commentary and can be carried out by various interpretative strategies (one point of comparison, key points of comparison or separate details).
What contributes to the aesthetic and rhetorical excellence of Marulić’s parables is the fact that in all the parables and in the interpretation of them a single unique law is confirmed: individual semantic units are primarily related to each other, and only secondary direct attention somewhere outside the jointly superposed subject — the point of the parable, the causally derived conclusion on the basis of the premises that are produced by the actual telling. Separate allegorical equations lead to the creation of a relative independence for individual semantic units and expansions at the cognitive and argumentative level, but never call into question the logical and narrative coherence of the parable itself or the literal level of meaning into which the spiritual meaning is included.
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