chapter  6
34 Pages

Titles and tales

Framing speech performance
ByJacqueline Vayntrub

This chapter examines the frame of the book of Proverbs and how this frame identifies its textual material as mashal alongside a named and famed figure—Solomon—but, unusually, outside of a narrative of speech performance. It analyzes the literary work done by frames and the configuration of the book of Proverbs, as mashal specifically. The chapter identifies new avenues of inquiry that this study has opened up. The chapter shows that ancient Near Eastern instruction texts represent and authorize their discourse through a renowned, ideal speaker, while Proverbs does not. A non-narrative title like that might already assume the biblical narrative in making sense of it. The title to Proverbs can therefore be neatly compared to other frames of ancient Near Eastern collections of instructions and sayings and their attributed figures. The framing of the prophetic collections is varied and complex, often with multiple frames embedding speeches and frequent shifts between first- and third-person voice.