Local Incoherence, Global Coherence? Allusion and the Readability of Ancient Israelite Literature



How to Cite

Lyons, M. A. (2021). Local Incoherence, Global Coherence? Allusion and the Readability of Ancient Israelite Literature. Old Testament Essays, 34(1), 141–164. Retrieved from https://ote-journal.otwsa-otssa.org.za/index.php/journal/article/view/419


Does a lack of coherence always render a text “unreadable” or “unintelligible”? In this essay, I explore the relationships between three of De Beaugrande and Dressler’s standards of textuality: cohesion, coherence, and intertextuality (considered more narrowly here in the form of allusion). I consider examples of textual allusion that readers have considered surprising, incongruous, or incoherent. I conclude that in some cases, there is reason to believe ancient Israelite writers employed allusion in such a way as to create incongruity and incoherence at local text-segment levels while creating a coherent argument at larger text-segment levels. In these cases, at least, the text is still “readable.”



Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).