1.1 The text refers to itself as verbal entity (with implied or explicit boundaries).
1.1.1 The text refers to itself using a genre term, speech act term, verb or other term implying verbal constitution: There is a generic description of the text at the beginning (Tob. 1:1) using the expression “book (biblios) of the words (logon) of Tobit”, indirectly characterised as the writing down of all that has happened (to Tobit and Tobias). See Tob. 12:20.
1.1.2 The text speaks of itself as dealing with an overall theme (subject matter) or purpose, or as consisting of coordinated parts making a whole: The purpose of the book may be indirectly hinted in Tob. 12:20, as a record of what happened to the character, and thus as an act of praising God and giving him his due (in contrast to the proverbial obligation to keep a king’s secrets concealed, Tob. 12:11).
1.1.3 The text uses expressions for characterizing itself as a bounded entity: There appears to be an indirect claim that the text contains a totality, in the instruction by the angel in Tob. 12:20 to “write down all that has happened” (G (I) adds “into a biblion”, the Qumran Hebrew 4Q200 fragment has "[…] ha-ma’aseh ha-zeh", so no direct evidence of “all”), although this is not explicitly stated as having resulted in the text now in front of the reader.
1.1.4 The text introduces the governing voice, thereby indirectly marking its own boundedness: the first-person narrator (Tob. 1:3–3:6) is introduced explicitly; thereafter, a voice which is not introduced takes over.
1.2 The text presents its internal sequence of sentences (or larger parts) as mirroring the objective relationships of components in the projected world (an objective order), or projects its subject matter as self-limiting (5.3.). See further under 4, 5.2–5 or 6: The text is a bounded narrative, notwithstanding a switch from first-person to third-person narration at Tob. 3:7 ff. (which is meaningful in narrative terms), see under 4.
1.6 The approximate word count or other indication of comparative size is: 697 lines of text in the Greek. Line count from Hanhart edition.
Top of the Page
2.1 The information conveyed in the text defines the perspective of the governing voice in the following way:
2.1.1 The text does not thematize how the governing voice comes to know the text’s contents (or its right to command obedience from the addressee), but suggests that its knowledge (or authority) is unlimited. This goes for the third-person narration after Tob. 3:7.
126.96.36.199 In narrative, the governing voice’s perspective tacitly is that of someone “present” at all events equally, regardless of their time, place, or nature (e.g. thoughts or private utterances of characters): The narrator after Tob. 3:7 is omniscient in the sense that the text can directly report about what happened in heaven (the prayers were received, Raphael was sent, Tob. 3:16–17), etc.
188.8.131.52 The governing voice suggests its information or advice is based on his or her own experiences, or on other knowledge filtered by reflections on personal experience: this is true for the parts where Tobit is the I-narrator (Tob. 1:3–3:6).
2.1.7 The governing voice (whether first or third person) is anonymous, that is, is not presented as tied to a specific personal identity (or to personhood in general): this applies from Tobit 3:7 onwards (and also the "frame" which introduces Tobit as speaker, at Tob. 1:1–2).
2.2 A first-person voice imposes its perspective on all (or almost all) knowledge or norms conveyed in the text: first person voice of Tobit as governing voice only for Tob. 1:3–3:6 (unexplained switch of governing voice, see 2.3).
2.2.1 The first-person governing voice is identified by an anonymous voice through a proper name or unique description. Points 184.108.40.206–3 are devoted to the anonymous voice; all other points presuppose the knowledge horizon of the first-person voice, unless otherwise indicated: Tobit is introduced as governing voice of the text by a heading paragraph without a main clause verb.
220.127.116.11 The anonymous voice presents the first-person utterance as a situation-unspecific “text”, not as uttered in a unique situation of the past.
18.104.22.168 The introduction of the first-person governing voice of the text has the following characteristics (also applies to self-identification 2.2.2):
22.214.171.124.1 It contextualizes the person, or the person together with a unique occasion of speaking: Tob. 1:1-2 has a brief contextualizing narrative about Tobit, namely his genealogy, a brief description of the historical setting (Shalmaneser, King of Assyria) and a statement that he was taken captive from a specific region of Galilee (named in detail).
126.96.36.199.3 It is found at the beginning of the text only.
2.2.2 The first person voice identifies itself by name or uniquely identifying expression (once or repeatedly): the anonymous introduction of Tobit is followed by Tobit naming himself as speaker ("ego Tobit", 1:3), and him providing a moral self-characterization (guided by “truth/fidelity and righteousness”); there is also the expression “our festival of Pentecost” at Tob. 2:1, with the first person plural capable of being read as including the addressees of the text (as Jewish) or as creating an opposition to them (our, as distinct to your, festival), but see also 2.4.5.
2.2.4 The number and gender of the first-person governing voice are as follows:
188.8.131.52 The first person singular is used.
184.108.40.206 The first person forms are marked for gender: Tob. 1:3–3:6 only: introduced as singular male in the frame (Tob. 1:2 "hos").
2.3 There is an unexplained switch of the grammatical person of the governing voice within the main body of the text, from first to third person: at Tob. 3:7 (most likely, but as there is no narrative occasion to mention Tobit, and thus reveal him to be referred to in the third person, until Tob. 3:16–17, the latter is also theoretically possible as the point of switching perspectives; a similar passage in which there is no occasion to mention Abraham, is found in GenApoc XXI:23 where the perspectives shifts from first to third person).
2.4 The governing voice defines a horizon of knowledge as shared with the projected addressee by taking for granted the following linguistic usages or references (in selection):
2.4.1 Persons or unique objects referred to by proper name or by technical expression:
220.127.116.11 for persons mentioned or presented in narrative usage; as characters; or topics, for example: proper names of historical-biblical (Shalmaneser (only in other versions, Greek: unknown "Enemessaros"), Tob. 1:2; Sennaherib, Tob. 1:18) and biblical persons (e.g. Naphtali in genealogy in Tob. 1:2), as well as angelic and demonic names (Raphael; Asmodaeus in Tob. 3:8) and a historical non-biblical name, Ahiqar (Tob. 1:21 and passim, claimed as kinsman).
18.104.22.168 for Gods/mythical figures/supernatural beings, etc., for example: angelic and demonic names mentioned are Raphael; and Asmodaeus in Tob. 3:8; Raphael introduces himself as "Azariah" in Tob. 5:13 (a name which is, on the level of the story itself, fictional).
22.214.171.124 for locations, for example: many place names mentioned as being located in Assyria, Media, as well as Palestine and Egypt (“upper parts of Egypt” in G (I); G (II) has “parts of Egypt”, "eis ta mere aigyptou", Tob. 8:3) including the river Tigris, and the place names Nineveh (see also 2.4.5.), Ecbatana and Rages (both in Media), although the topography as told in the story in at least one important feature (location of Nineveh with respect to the Tigris) does not match the historically known location of these places.
126.96.36.199 for times or calendar dates (specific to a language or culture), for example: "Dystros" in Tob. 2:12 as name of a month (see 188.8.131.52); for Shavuot, see 2.4.5.
184.108.40.206 for documents, texts, books, etc. (identified through being referred to or quoted), for example: several mentions of the “law of Moses” in a clearly textual reference (e.g. Tob. 1:8, only in G (II) = Sinaiticus), or “book of Moses” at Tob. 6:13 (G(II) biblos; Aramaic not preserved at the point where sefer would appear), Tob. 7:12; and the prophecies of Nahum are referred to in Tob. 14:4; by way of quotation: Tob. 2:6 quotes Amos 8:10 as applying to Tobit’s own situation at the time, although not quite verbatim; Tob. 8:6 provides a nearly MT-identical quotation of Gen. 2:18 introduced as “you” (God’s) saying it (in a formulation close to LXX, see Fitzmyer, Tobit), as part of Tobias’ speech.
2.4.3 The text as a whole routinely employs the following language(s), knowledge of which is taken for granted: Greek (in the version of the work here described); there are fragments of Hebrew and Aramaic versions from Qumran (also medieval re-translations into Hebrew), and ancient versions in Latin and other languages. The situation emerging from this is interpreted differently in the scholarship. The language of the original composition was either Hebrew (e.g. Beyer), attested scantily in Qumran, or the more substantially attested Aramaic (favoured e.g. by Fitzmyer). Texts in these languages are incomplete, and only later translations, including Greek Sinaiticus version here analysed, offer complete narrations. The fact that the text was translated from a Semitic original probably means that it was to some extent adapted to new translator-audience contexts (see 2.4.5.). There are recensional differences between the two Greek versions, and strong differences to later versions including Jerome’s Vulgate (Jerome says he created it also using an Aramaic text, cf. Fitzmyer, Tobit, pp. 19 ff.), which is also in the third person throughout. It appears however that the overall narrative shape was only occasionally changed in this process: all 14 “chapters” are attested in Qumran Aramaic fragments. This would imply that the text’s basic narrative conventions as embodied in a Semitic original were in principle understood across a number of ancient cultures (but perhaps also due to Christian interest).
220.127.116.11 Other special linguistic usages: originally proper names of persons (e.g. Tovi = Tobit) or locations appear in Greek transliteration (including spelling differences between the two Greek versions of the final t in Tobit); some of the other transliterations or formations with special Jewish cultural meaning (e. g., pentekoste) are part of the wider language of LXX; the use of "Dystros" in Tob. 2:12 as name of a month is Macedonian and is not found in G (I) but in the Vetus Latina (Littman, p. 68; Fitzmyer, p. 140).
2.4.5 The meaning of some linguistic usage or reference is addressed explicitly, marking it as not being part of the shared horizon of knowledge: "pentekost" is mentioned as a “our festival” (Tob. 2:1), and explained further as “sacred Feast of Weeks” (or “Feast of seven Weeks” in the G (I) group of Greek manuscripts, see Fitzmyer, Tobit, p. 131; Littman, p. 63, who thinks it is a later but still early gloss to the Greek text, as the Vetus Latina also has it); a Qumran Aramaic fragment has: be-yom chag shevu[’aya’]; in other words while in the Greek versions the festival name Pentecost is glossed briefly, it does not appear to be so in the Aramaic. Some of the location names are explained, e.g. Tishbe in Tob. 1:1; Nineveh is identified as being in “the land of the Assyrians” (Tob. 1:3).
2.6 The text presents itself as speaking to certain persons, groups or entities, explicitly projecting a certain image of its addressee.
2.6.1 The governing voice uses apostrophe, second-person grammatical forms or first-person exclusive or inclusive “we”: in the expression “our festival of Pentecost” (Tob. 2:1) the first person plural may include the addressees of the text (being projected as Jewish), but it may also create opposition to the addressees (our, as distinct to your, festival).
2.6.5 The governing voice employs exclamatory or declamatory modes of speech (cf. 8.1.13): although reported as indirect speech of Tobias (before his death), the final sentence in G (I) (Sinaiticus, without an Aramaic text equivalent) contains a doxology whose placement gives it a text-closing, quasi-liturgical function, as if in the narrator’s voice: “Before he died, he rejoiced over Nineveh and praised the Lord God for ever and ever” Tob. 14:15 (not in G (I)); some text witnesses add “Amen”.
Top of the Page
4.1 The text narrates events which are strongly emplotted, making reference to interlocking happenings, characters, motivations, causes, times or locations: There is strong nexus of motivations and causes, locations and characters, with narrative tension and narrative arcs presenting a story of intrinsic interest, and involving the resolution of several crises presented in parallel and resolved in synthesis (Tobit’s illness, Sarah’s predicament). Tobit’s life is presented implicitly as exemplary, at least in its basic values and strivings, that of Tobias perhaps even more so. When it comes to considering literary and narrative integrity, the switch of perspective (see 18.104.22.168) appears to cause curiously little disruption. The new voice we hear from Tob. 3:7 is aware of the preceding events. At the point of transition the sets of events surrounding Tobit and Sarah are stressed as being part of the same story by the parallel circumstances, with a stress on the similarity in emotions and in the prayers (asking for death), their simultaneous reception in heaven, and the economic coincidence of their respective solutions which are is not just told later in Tobit, but actually anticipated by the narrator here in Tob. 3:16–17. In fact the unity of these apparently unconnected events is, to some extent, the very point of the tale (though not by way of setting up a narrative suspense). The interconnectedness of events before and after the switch of the narrative voice could hardly be clearer.
4.1.2 All subordinate events are presented as preparing one crisis and its solution, or as addressing one unified timespan/location, or as telling the fate of one character or a group of characters: one period is foregrounded while involving several persons and crises, but defined by the life span of Tobit extended into Tobias; this particular family, not the whole of the nation or anything public, is foregrounded. The narrative involves the resolution of several crises presented in parallel and resolved in synthesis (e.g. Tobit’s illness, Sarah’s predicament).
22.214.171.124 The narrative emphasizes personal, private or domestic aspects of lives: The text arranges most of its quite diverse narrative motifs around the theme of family (kinship and marriage). The focus of family is reinforced by deeds and dialogue stressing affection between the extended group of relations, with the terms “brother” and “sister” commonly used also for sons or wives (a list of the latter usage in Fitzmyer, Tobit, 199). Apart from the angel, practically every character of any importance is a relation. And, contrary to a case like Job, this familial affection does not conflict but coincides with loyalty to God and his commandments, e.g. with respect to marriage within the clan being divinely commanded. (*Also: see VI.43/43), and the theme of “almsgiving” or charity (eleemosyne) occurs again and again (cf. Fitzmyer, Tobit, 103; Aramaic 4Q198 fragment has tsedaqah as equivalent at Tob. 14:2.)
4.1.3 The narrative provides a clear closure, or dwells on the closure: Tobit's death is followed by a quick summary of the subsequent years of Tobias until his own death, creating what might be called a double narrative closure.
4.2 The event sequence is projected as related to the sequence of text parts as follows:
4.2.1 The report sequence mirrors the projected chronological sequence of events mostly or wholly, not precluding 4.2.2–5.: the sequence of report sentences of events mainly mirrors the projected sequence of events.
4.2.2 There is use of prolepsis or analepsis: there is some analepsis in the I-narrator section when Tobit recalls his life in Palestine before his captivity (chapter 1), or when the previous death of Sarah’s husbands is summarised as reason for the maidservants reproach (Tob. 3:8); also an important prolepsis (destroying the moment of “suspense” for first-time reading) at Tob. 3:17 where the happy ending is anticipated, in imitation of God’s knowledge of what he will do. A piece of information not being reported at its relevant chronological point in the text is that Sarah’s previous seven husbands were relatives (adelphoi). This, mentioned neither in the narrator’s report Tob. 3:8, nor in 6:13, is stated in Tob. 7:11 by Raguel and is at that point news to the reader. There is a mismatch between what speech is reported between the characters, and what they learn from each other, at Tob. 7:5: Raguel enquiring after Tobit’s wellbeing, Tobias not mentioning in Tobit’s eye trouble, but Raguel then at 7:7 lamenting the eye trouble.
4.2.3 There are chronological gaps which are explicitly managed or signposted: summaries explicitly bridge the chronological gap from the time of the main events to the time of Tobit’s death, and then that of Tobias.
4.2.5 There are descriptions of repeated or habitual actions which have no unique point in the chronology: Tobit recollects in the first person the regularities of a life of commandments in the Palestinian setting, enumerating a large number of specific obligations (Tob. 1:6 ff.)
4.9 There is prominent or sustained characterization of key figures in the narrative.
4.9.1 There is editorial comment on the qualities of a character from a third-person narrator. IS THIS TRUE OF THE SECOND PART OF THE TEXT FOR TOBIT OR TOBIAS OR ANYBODY ELSE?
126.96.36.199 There is self-characterization of a first-person governing voice, or first-person characterization of other characters: While the characterisation of Tobit (e.g. as pious, or fulfilling commandments, etc.) is mostly dramatic, he does also call himself ****.
4.9.3 A figure is characterized by her or his moral or religious traits.
188.8.131.52 Moral/religious traits are not manifestly linked to the ethnicity and/or gender of the figure: Although the behaviour resulting from Tobit's values are specifically Jewish, and the piety they demonstrate is to the Jewish God, the way these are presented by the narrator appears to give them a universal definition or appeal. (The citing of Ahiqar’s behaviour as exemplary in Tob. 14:10 does not prove this point, though, as Tobit claims him as relation, thus not as a non-Jew.) The same goes to some extent for the virtues clearly evinced in Tobias’ and Sarah’s behaviour. For instance, despite the latter’s endorsement of virginity as a value (Tob. 3:14), it is striking that the narrator places her in perfect parallel, down to details of their prayer, including the wish for God to let her die, with the male hero Tobit (in chapter 3).
4.10 a character's relations to her/his community, indlucing any "doubling" of social environment: there is a “doubling” of social environment, both for Tobit’s life in Palestine (where the Northern tribes are sundered by idolatry from Jerusalem) and in the exile among the Assyrians in Nineveh.
4.10.4 A main character is portrayed as in conflict with his/her environment (or as being an “Other”), whether the environment is single or doubled: In the two mettings Tobit is to some extent in conflict with both the immediate and the wider society: all Jews except him eat gentile food in Nineveh (Tob. 1:10) which mirrors his earlier isolation (Tob. 1:5), when all his Northern kingdom kinsmen worshipped Jerobeam’s calf except himself.
4.11 Supernatural characters appear in the narrative, whether introduced casually, or accounted for elaborately: The narration presents supernatural characters in the shape of angel and demon, and their presence is introduced casually; at Tob. 12:20 the angel stresses that he did never in fact partake of food and drink (Aramaic just “drink”); the angel’s presence, and his overcoming of the demon Asmondaeus, are blended with human causation and psychology, and explicit reference to God’s intervention (by way of the angel).
4.13 The narrative pace is slowed down or changed by frequent or prominent quotation of speech, thought or text.
4.13.1 The quotation constitutes a plot-driving event in its own right: the narrative pace is slowed down by frequent or prominent occurrence of quoted direct speech, including quoted blessings, farewells, prayers, and dialogue; not all but many of these occurrences drive the plot: Tobit’s and Sarah’s prayers in Tobit 3; Raphael and Tobias discussing future marriage to Sarah; Tobit’s prediction and advice to Tobias to leave Nineveh (Tob. 14:10 ff.)
4.13.2 Quoted speech/thought provides a comment on the events (4.13.1 does not apply): several extended speeches comment on events or have no direct consequence on the action, including moral and wisdom exhortation (Tob. 4:5–19), the hymn of Tob. 13 which is entirely generic in content and halts the action, clearly separating the dénouement of the main narrative at the end of Tob. 12 from the life resumed after the crisis, which is only sketched out in a few words in Tob. 14:1–2); parts of the farewell speech (Tob. 14); there is a string of generic maxims also at Tob. 12:7–10, from Raphael.
4.13.4 The quotation differs from the surrounding text in its form (e.g. poetry), style or language: The speech occurrences include the psalm-like hymn in Tob. 13 (characterised as “thanksgiving” in Tob. 14:1) clearly employing a different, poetic, style.
4.14 The identity or perspective of the governing voice changes between adjacent parts of what is manifestly the same narrative: The epistemic stance of the whole text of Tobit (i.e., the totality of information made available to the reader) exceeds the (epistemic) perspective of Tobit as the I-narrator between Tob. 1:2 and 3:7; eventually his death is told, and the life of Tobias after his death. From a diachronic perspective and comparison with Genesis Apocryphon (Abram),see Miller, 1991.
4.14.1 A first-person narrator is followed by a third-person narrator: There is a switch to an anonymous, third-person voice at Tob. 3:7; this could, but need not, be interpreted as a change "back" to the anonymous voice which introduces Tobit as I-narrator in Tobit 1:1–2. Since Tobit is next mentioned, as in the third person, only in Tobit 3:15 ("prayer of both of them"), it is only from 3:15 that the wording of the text is becoming grammatically incompatible with Tobit's I-narration; but the epistemic perspective must have changed in 3:7, as these are events that Tobit, at the time, could not have known about, and the absence of any need to mention Tobit at all sufficiently accounts for the absence of a third-person reference to him between 3:7 and 3:14.
4.14.3 The change coincides with other features which could be seen as motivating (or diachronically accounting for) it.
184.108.40.206 A shift in the setting of the action which modifies the epistemic perspective but does not disrupt the effective narrative continuity (nor necessarily the literary unity): The switch happens at the point where the simultaneous, but spatially unconnected, event of Sarah’s humiliation is reported. The two events are stressed by the third-person narrator in their exact parallel as happenings, as well as in their synchronous timing; however, they cannot be contained in Tobit’s own perspective (and thus not be told in an I-narration), unless by superhuman knowledge or with hindsight, which would require explicit introduction (such as, "I later learned that while I was praying, Sarah also...", etc.).
Top of the Page
7.1 Narrative or thematic correspondences, or overlap of specific wording, occur between a non-biblical text and one or more biblical texts in a manner that is prominent or pervasive: with 2 Kings chapters 17–18 in particular.
7.1.1 Characters correspond between the non-biblical narrative and the narrative of a biblical text or texts.
220.127.116.11 Only minor character(s) of the text correspond to character(s) in a biblical text(s), whether minor or major: cast of character overlap is restricted to minor characters occurring in both texts, namely some Assyrian kings (Tob. 1 and 2)
18.104.22.168 The first-person narrator of the text is a non-biblical character.
7.1.2 Chronology, physical setting or emplotment correspond between the non-biblical narrative and the narrative of a biblical text or texts:
22.214.171.124 The narrative is located at a particular point (“niche”) in a chronological-spatial framework also known from a biblical text, but there is no overlap in the narrative substance: While the wider chronological and political setting is shared and explicitly related to biblical narrative (the late Assyrian empire, e.g. 2 Kings 17–18), the action is set in a “niche” of the biblical narrative with no substantial overlap of characters. The narrative text locates itself within a wider narrative-chronological (or “historical”) framework which is also found in biblical narratives on the destruction of the northern kingdom (with some discrepancies in Assyrian king chronology), but occupies a niche space in the biblical framework, in that there is no cast of character overlap between the main characters of the text and main characters mentioned in the biblical narrative; apart from a general thematic, and thus very indirect, relationship to Job (see e.g. Fitzmyer, Tobit, p. 36; there is an explicit comparison with Job in the Vulgate Tob., 2:12–18, quoted in Fitzmyer pp. 138 f.), the links to biblical substance and texts are slight (see 7.10).
7.1.3 There is prominent use of explicit quotations of biblical wording, whether in non-narrative or in narrative (but not in biblical commentary, for which see section 6): Tob. 2:6 quotes Amos 8:10 as applying to Tobit’s own situation at the time, although not quite verbatim; Tob. 8:6 provides a nearly MT-identical quotation of Gen. 2:18 introduced as “you” (God’s) saying it (in a formulation close to LXX, see Fitzmyer, Tobit), as part of Tobias’ speech.
7.1.9 While sharing the basic narrative-chronological framework of biblical texts, the narrative also mentions characters or events which presuppose a potentially quite different framework: Tobit also locates itself within an extra-biblical narrative-chronological framework by claiming Ahiqar as a peripheral character and kinsman of Tobit (Tob. 1:21 ff.), and in Tob. 14:10 the story of Ahiqar and his adoptive son is presupposed as known to Tobias (and the reader), with exemplary behaviour and its reward being ascribed to him. (One of the recensions says that Ahiqar was saved by Tobit’s almsgiving, not Ahiqar’s. If that reading were correct – considered unlikely – that would change the nature of the presupposed information dramatically. See Fitzmyer, Tobit, p. 334, note 13.)
Top of the Page
8.1 Standard forms or contents formulated in set phrases, set sentence formats, or clauses in a standard syntactic connection.
8.1.6 [Speech report: only as part of ongoing narrative, dialogue in narrative context: pervasive]
8.1.11 List enumerating items by whole sentences/interpretation units: list sentences at Tob. 1:7–8 (a compendium of tithes) and Tob. 10:10.
8.1.14 [Prayer, doxology, valediction or blessing: Tobit's prayer in I-narration in Tob. 3; also Sarah's prayer containing a blessing formula at 3:11; doxology at Tob. 14:15, but not in text's governing voice, see 2.6.5.]
8.1.18 [Sentence making a prediction of a future event: only on the level of character speech: Tob. 14:5 where Tobit continues after mentioning Nahum’s prophecies against Nineveh with his own predictions of a return to Jerusalem – the ability to see into the future being ascribed to a person on the threshold of death (e.g. Gen 49); (also as narrative prolepsis in the past tense, at Tob. 3:17)]
8.1.20 [Recommendation of a particular behaviour or statement of an ideal type of person in a “wisdom” or similar formulation: only on the level of a character's speech: Raphael announces proverbial wisdom and explains its meaning as it applies to the narrative situation, Tob. 12:7, 11; cf. Fitzmyer, Tobit, p. 291]
8.3 Forms with internal emplotment relationships, or character-centred small literary forms or motifs:
8.3.6 The narrative motif of humanized animals or animals as agents: fish biting Tobias, dog following Raphael and Tobias.
8.3.7 The narrative motif of the fantastic, grotesque, or gross: the bird droppings falling into Tobit's eyes.
8.3.8 A narrative motif that can be interpreted as humorous or ironic: narrative motifs that can be interpreted as humorous include the dog following Raphael and Tobias about, the fish biting Tobias, the refilling of the grave made ready for Tobias; perhaps ironic are the bird droppings falling into Tobit’s eyes.
8.3.9 Use of a gap of knowledge between what a character knows and what the governing voice has already told, including one character telling a lie to another, which is transparent to the reader: Tobit unwittingly mentioning an angel’s protection in Tobit 5:20 when Azariah is indeed an angel, and similar in his speech Tob. 11:14 praising “angels”; Raphael saying he is a relative, later acknowledged and counteracted by the “whole truth” (Tob. 12:11).
8.4 [Small poetic form:]
8.4.1 [Occurrence of a song, poetic piece, rhythmic unit: there are several examples at narrative junctures in quoted speech.]
Top of the Page
10.1 [The text consist of the juxtaposition of large constituent part-texts, each of which has its own thematic, lemmatic or narrative structure (e.g., for thematic part-texts, one of 1.1–3, 5.2–6, or 5.7.1–2 apply): it is possible, though far from compelling, to interpret the text as juxtaposing large constituent part-texts.]
10.1.1 [The part-texts are of the same kind, i.e., all narrative, all thematic or all lemmatic: all narrative, if applicable at all.]
10.1.1.4 [The part-texts juxtaposed are all narrative: if the switch in perspective at Tob. 3:6–7 is considered to be a fundamental breach of continuity, and the literary and narrative signals for an unbroken continuity of the narrative as such are not considered sufficient to heal the breach, then Tobit becomes a book of two part-texts, one in the first person voice of Tobit, and the other in the anonymous voice. They stand in a functional relationship of integrity, in that the one continues the narrative where the other left it off, and in that the anonymous part presupposes and "knows of" the events told in the first person, but without speaking ABOUT the first-person narrative. This seems unnecessary.]
Top of the Page
11.2 The text is dominated by the reporting of emplotted events, whether or not in an overarching narrative format (4).
11.2.2 The reported events are not biblical, but are related to a biblical past/future: The main contents of the text are events of a past (whether intended as fictitious or historical) related to the biblical past (but not biblical in their detail).
Top of the Page
12.1 Sampling of genre labels applied to the text in secondary literature: fiction, Jewish religious romance, historical writing, narrative, heroic folk tale, novella (see Fitzmyer, p. 31 for sources); "religious and didactic romance" (Fitzmyer himself, p. 33); story; tale; romance of successful quest, patriarchal narrative, book containing wisdom genres (for all these see Moore, in particular pp. 18–21).
Top of the Page
The Book of Tobit. Texts from the Principal Ancient and Medieval Traditions, with Synopsis, Concordances, and Annotated Texts in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Syriac ed. S. Weeks, S. Gathercole and L. Stuckenbruck (Fontes et Subsidia Series, 3) (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2004); The Book of Tobit in Codex Sinaiticus, ed., trans. and commentary by Robert J. Littman (Septuagint commentary series) (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008 (this contains both long and short Greek text with facing English translation and commentary for the long version); Tobit, ed. R. Hanhart (Vol. VIII,5 of the Göttingen Septuaginta; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983); in Rahlfs, Septuaginta, vol. 1, both recensions are presented with the Sinaiticus in the lower half of the page.
Qumran Aramaic fragments (extending to all 14 chapters) edited by J. A. Fitzmyer “Tobit” in M. Broshi et al. (eds.), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, XIX,14, Pt.2 , Qumran Cave 4. Parabiblical Texts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995); F. García Martínez, Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, pp. 382–399; the Greek sources remain the only early complete recensions, and of these the longer Sinaiticus recension is most important (also often reflected in the Vetus Latina translation, see Fitzmyer), together with overlaps with Qumran Aramaic fragments.
Translations, commentaries: Tobit is part of the Old Testament apocrypha and thus part of many modern Bible translations or dedicated translations of the apocrypha. Additionally see: J. A. Fitzmyer, Tobit (Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature series) (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2003); C. A. Moore, Tobit ( The Anchor Bible; New York: Doubleday, 1996); Littman, The Book of Tobit, see above under Editions. M. Hallermayer, Text und Überlieferung des Buches Tobit (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008); G. W. E. Nickelsburg, "Tobit", in L. H. Feldman, J. L. Kugel and L. H. Schiffman (eds.), Outside the Bible. Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society/University of Nebraska Press, 2013), pp. 2631–2661.
T. Craven, Artistry and Faith in the Book of Judith (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983); J. E. Miller, "The Redaction of Tobit and the Genesis Apocryphon", Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 8 (1991), pp. 53–61; D. McCracken, "Narration and Comedy in the Book of Tobit", Journal of Biblical Literature, 114 (1995), pp. 401–418. M. Bredin (ed.), Studies in the Book of Tobit. A Multidisciplinary Approach (London and New York: T. & T. Clarke, 2006). E. S. Christianson, A Time to Tell. Narrative Strategies in Ecclesiastes (Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), pp. 65 ff; see also M. V. Fox, "Frame-Narrative and Composition in the Book of Qohelet", Hebrew Union College Annual 48 (1977), pp. 83–106; I. Nowell, The Book of Tobit. Narrative Technique and Theology (Washington, D.C: PhD Dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1983); I. Nowell, "Irony in the Book of Tobit", The Bible Today 33 (1995), pp. 79–83; I. Nowell, "The Narrator in the Book of Tobit", D. J. Lull (ed.), SBL 1988 Seminar Papers (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1988), pp. 27–38; L. M. Wills, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), pp. 68–92; P. Deselaers, Das Buch Tobit. Studien zu seiner Entstehung, Komposition und Theologie (Freiburg, Schweiz and Göttingen: Universitätsverlag and Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1982); B. Ego, "Das Buch Tobit", Jüdische Schriften aus hellenistisch-römischer Zeit, II (Gütersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1999), pp. 871–1007; B. Otzen, Tobit and Judith (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002).
The version of the work described here is the Greek long version (Sinaiticus=Greek II, here referred to as "G (II)"). Occasional reference is made to the Greek short version (as "G (I)"), Qumran fragments of the Aramaic/Hebrew, and ancient translations.
Top of the Page