This article is an invited paper, subjected to open review by the Editors and/or the Editorial Board
This article has been published in: Ocula 17, One hundred and one years of Barthes (1915-2016)
author: Stefano Traini (Facoltà di Scienze della Comunicazione, Università di Teramo (IT))
The hidden face of God. From Barthes' analysis of Jacob's struggle (Genesis 32,23-33) to the book of Esther
language: italianpublication date: October 2016
abstract: In 1972 Roland Barthes published a brief analysis of the text of Genesis 32, traditionally called Jacob Wrestles with the Angel. In that period, the first structural analysis tools were being tested and among them Barthes used also Greimas’ actantial model. The episode of Jacob’s struggle is interesting because the patriarch fights against a God who conceals his identity, hiding himself under the guise of a man, or an angel. Starting from this point, in the article I have tried to ideally continue Barthes’ analysis, examining the Book of Esther, all built around the idea of the concealment of identity: God never appears, but he governs the plots of the world; with wise foresight, Esther hides, as well as her guardian Mordekhài, and together they defeat their opponents, who would like to eliminate the Jews living in the kingdom of Ahashveròsh. The hidden identity, later revealed with strategic wisdom, seems - in the biblical texts - a prerogative of the winners.
citation information: Stefano Traini, Il volto nascosto di Dio. Dall'analisi di Barthes della lotta di Giacobbe (Genesi 32,23-33) al libro di Ester, "Ocula", vol.17, n.17, October 2016. DOI: 10.12977/ocula67
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