The oak and the gate : narrative paths through Mamre and Sodom

Suriano, Ambra; Paganini, Simone (Thesis advisor); Dahmen, Ulrich (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : RWTH Aachen University (2023)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2023


The book of Genesis displays in the episodes of Mamre and Sodom a narrative elaboration that has fascinated readers since ancient times. This PhD thesis analyses the narrator’s techniques to tell the story, influencing the readers’ understanding and playing with their interpretative freedom. A synchronic analysis of the text will highlight a series of binary oppositions that characterise the narrative world of Mamre and Sodom. They establish two opposing models in the narrative: Mamre, the positive one, and Sodom, the negative one. The former concerns God’s presence, the sun’s shining on a natural environment, the announcement of new life and the salvation of the innocent. It represents the world ordered according to the way God conceived it. Sodom, the city surrounded by the darkness of night, represents the opposite model, corrupted by sin and bringing death, where human impulses outweigh the need to seek God. Both models, however, help shape a unique world in which the theme of knowledge seems to occupy a central role. Knowledge is knowledge of the divine and human world, leading to awareness, that is, the critical ability to distinguish between good and evil and to choose which to follow.


  • Biblical Theology Teaching and Research Area [781220]