Type scene

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A type scene is a literary convention employed by a narrator across a set of scenes, or related to scenes (place, action) already familiar to the audience. The similarities with, and differences from, the established type are used to illuminate developments in plot and character. Robert Louis Fowler wrote, "The technique of the type-scene offers the poet a basic scaffolding, but it also allows the poet to adapt each scene for specific purposes."[1]:135

Much of the foundational work for such analysis was by Walter Arend in his 1933 book, Die typischen Scenen bei Homer, on the Iliad of Homer. Later work by Robert Alter employed similar examination to parts of the Hebrew Bible, in particular to the betrothal type-scene at the well in Genesis.[2]:45 Another type scene that Alter identifies is the annunciation of the birth of the hero to a barren woman, such as the birth of Samson to the wife of Manoah, or the birth of Samuel to Hannah. Other scholars have suggested other type scenes in the Hebrew Bible, such as the heavenly council, theophany, prophetic concealment and the dying monarch.[3] Several New Testament scholars have suggested that a type-scene similar to Hebrew Bible betrothal type-scenes occurs in John 4 with the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus at the well.[4]

Further reading[edit]

  • Alter, Robert (1983). The Art of Biblical Narrative. ISBN 978-0-465-00427-0.
  • Arend, Walter (1933). Die typischen Scenen bei Homer. Berlin.


  1. ^ Fowler, Robert Louis (2004). The Cambridge companion to Homer. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-01246-1.
  2. ^ Bach, Alice (1999). Women in the Hebrew Bible. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-91561-8.
  3. ^ Johnson, Benjamin J. M. (June 2010). "What type of a son is Samson? Reading Judges 13 as a biblical type scene" (PDF). JETS. 53 (2): 269.
  4. ^ R. Alan Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1983),136; Lyle Eslinger, “The Wooing of the Woman at the Well: Jesus, the Reader and Reader-Response Criticism,” Literature and Theology 1 (1987): 167-83; Calum M. Carmichael, “Marriage and the Samaritan Woman,” New Testament Studies 26 (1979-80): 32-46; Jo-Ann Brant, “Husband Hunting: Characterization and Narrative Art in the Gospel of John,” Biblical Interpretation 4 (1996): 205-23; Adeline Fehribach, The Woman in the Life of the Bridegroom: A Feminist Historical-Literary Analysis of the Female Characters in the Fourth Gospel (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998), 50.