from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- See Obadiah1.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- proper n. Obadiah ( the prophet)
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a Hebrew minor prophet
- n. an Old Testament book telling Obadiah's prophecies; the shortest book in the Christian Bible
Set initially in Africa and later in Europe, Abdias is born into a wealthy trading family living in the desert lands beyond the Atlas Mountains.
Arguably chronically emotionally wounded by it all Abdias is both wily and ruthlessly cunning, but equally capable of deep love and quiet, gentle emotion and this is never so evident as when he is left to raise his baby daughter.
And Achab called Abdias the governor of his house: now Abdias feared the Lord very much.
Along these lines, John (aka Johannes) Urzidil, in a 1948 review of Stifter's Abdias that appeared in The Menorah Journal, writes about Stifter's universalism:
The scene is set for us to follow the life of the Jew Abdias, now a stooped ninety-year-old figure sitting outside his house day after day.
Stifter cleverly suggests that readers suspend judgement on Abdias and in the end I didn't feel like passing any at all on a man who had lived the life he was given and dealt with whatever it threw at him to the best of his ability.
Like Abdias, another of Stifter's fine exercises in seeing with the heart not just the eyes.
On occasion fate deals him a seemingly good hand and it is fascinating to surmise on all this as you read, because good hands for Abdias so often hold promises of woe.
It is fifteen years before Abdias returns, rich in both gold and life experience and all constantly put to the test for the rest of his days.
So there you have the man and with no expectations about his writing I embarked on Brigitta, a book of novellas translated by Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly and the first story Abdias.