5 Pages

Signs the Flesh

E very story needs a storyteller. Within the Bible, the importance of recog-nizing the biblical narrator as a figure telling a slanted story has beenundervalued. Robert Alter has described the biblical narrator as "impassive and authoritative" (1989:176). While he acknowledges that ancient narratives may switch momentarily from the narrator's point of view to a character's angle of vision, he is content to describe pre-novelistic narrative as containing "a high degree of uniformity of perspective maintained by an authoritative overviewing narrator" (1989:176). Alter allows no room for an iconoclastic reader like Gayatri Spivak, who describes her task as "to read it and run with it and go somewhere else. To see where in that grid there are the spaces where, in fact, woman oozes away" (145).