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Making Your Point: The Use of Gestures in Ancient Israel

Biblical Theology Bulletin , Volume 42 (1): 18 – Feb 1, 2012


Sage Publications
Copyright © 2012 by SAGE Publications
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Making Your Point: The Use of Gestures in Ancient Israel


More than simple narrative embellishment, the descriptions of physical gestures or other body movements by characters in biblical stories are a rich source of cultural information. As is the case with live dialogue, various forms of nonverbal communication both accompany and enliven the scene in a written narrative. They convey emotion, dominance, and social status, and they help to illustrate a position or specific point being made by the dialogue partners. Therefore the use of kinesics and other methods of analyzing nonverbal communication become a valuable interpretative tool for biblical scholars. This study examines categories of nonverbal comunication and provides an annotated survey of their use in biblical narrative.
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