Original Research - Special Collection: Nicholas Allen Festschrift

The ‘people’ of Israel according to Judith: A Greimassian semiotic reading of Judith 5:1–24

Risimati S. Hobyane
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 57, No 1 | a2968 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v57i1.2968 | © 2023 Risimati S. Hobyane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 April 2023 | Published: 27 December 2023

About the author(s)

Risimati S. Hobyane, Ancient Languages and Text Studies, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The concept, ‘people’, could in fact be a driving force behind the authorship of the Judith narrative. On this particular theme, many insightful contributions that have already been made by various scholars are applauded. The theme and concept of people still remain a topic that needs further exploration. In this article, the use and significance of the concept ‘people’ in the Judith narrative, is explored. The aim is not only to identify and describe the concept, but aspires to further demonstrate its distinct function in view of the reader. The analysis will be done from both the figurative and the thematic level of analysis of the Greimassian semiotic approach to literary texts. It is asserted that the utilisation of the concept ‘people’, is possibly an intentional literary strategy by the author, to encourage the reader (first and implied) to embrace the idea of Jewish reunification in the second temple period.

Contribution: This is a literary analysis of the occurrence, use and significance of the concept, ‘people’, in the book of Judith, particularly chapter 5:1–24. The study focuses on the distinctiveness of the people of Israel and its possible function regarding the readers. The values making the people of Israel unique are studied and the suggestion made that this could have been the impetus behind the authorship of the story. The study is intuitive and does contribute towards the understanding of the religious dynamics of the book of Judith.


Judith; people; Greimas; literary analysis; figurative analysis; thematic analysis

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