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Subject-tracking and Topic Continuity in the Church Slavonic Translation of the Story of Abraham and his Niece Mary

Dieter Stern


The present article addresses issues of referentiality and text cohesion in a Church Slavonic narrative text. Starting with the specific problem of referential conflict as formulated by Kibrik [1987], issues of tracking personal participants in a narrative text are broadly explored in order to arrive at a rationale for the construction of cohesive text interpretation through topic continuity in subject position. The article takes an interpretative text-based approach of close-reading and argues for participant tracking to be dependent on text genre and general cultural prerequisites of text reading and interpretation rather than on systemic grammatical features of language. It is also hinted at the possibility that medieval narrative text genres (like the Byzantine-Slavic hagiographic genre being explored in this paper through the specimen of the Story of Abraham and Mary) may adhere to a type of narrative construction which places more responsibility on the reader-listener than on the narrator.


DOI: 10.31168/2305-6754.2019.8.2.2


topic continuity; Church Slavonic; hagiography; Bdinski sbornik

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