Lions and Ovens and Visions: A Satirical Reading of Daniel 1-6
Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2008 pp. xii + 230. $90.00
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 12
Description: Are the stories of Daniel at the court of the Persian king simply cheerful tales of a clever and successful courtier, as many assume? Valeta doubts it, insisting that the playful and fantastic storyline must have a more serious meaning. The key to these narratives lies in their genre. These tales of lions and ovens and the like are examples of Menippean satire, argues Valeta, an ancient genre foregrounded in modern literary study by Bakhtin, who saw in the characteristic interplay of voices in the Menippean satire a prime instance of his Ďdialogismí. Especially typical of the Menippean satire is an indecorous mixing of styles and elements, which may be the explanation why the Daniel narratives are both comic and serious, Hebrew and Aramaic, episodic and unified. Viewed as satire, the Daniel narratives emerge in their true colours as resistance literature to the regime of Antiochus IVóand so form a perfect accompaniment to the visions of Daniel 7Ė12.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Apocalyptic Literature, Daniel, Literature
Review by Jordan M. Scheetz
Citation: Jordan M. Scheetz, review of David Valeta, Lions and Ovens and Visions: A Satirical Reading of Daniel 1-6, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).
Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.