God's enigmatic answer to Moses' question about his name—Ehyeh asher ehyeh, usually translated “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14)—has provoked philological analysis for centuries, often coupled with high philosophical and theological reflection; yet little attention has been paid to the narrative relevance of God's self-designation in the context of the book of Exodus. The article investigates the narrative potential of God's revealed name along the threefold movement of suspense, curiosity, and surprise. The attention to the syntactic, semantic, rhetorical, and narrative aspects of God's name in itself and within its immediate context is interrelated with the tracking of suspense, curiosity, and surprise dynamics triggered by God's name in the book of Exodus as a whole. The fine and multiplied dynamism of God's self-naming phrase, it is shown, turns the Exodus narrative into the embodiment of God's name and into the crucible of God's narrative identity.
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Research Article| June 01 2010
Jean-Pierre Sonnet; Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (Exodus 3:14): God's “Narrative Identity” Among Suspense, Curiosity, and Surprise. Poetics Today 1 June 2010; 31 (2): 331–351. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2009-023
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