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In this volume, Gary Yamasaki develops an innovative approach to biblical narrative, exploring the way stories are treated in filmmaking, and using that as a model for analysing biblical stories. In our culture, the voluminous exposure we have to movies has resulted in our being conditioned to experience cinematic stories in a particular manner: for example, seeing them as events rather than objects, and the story worlds of movies as distinct from the real world. However, biblical stories are not typically viewed through this cinematic-story lens, making our analysis of biblical narrative out of step with what has become our natural mode of experiencing stories. This book demonstrates how fresh interpretive insights emerge when we read biblical stories like we watch movies. Each volume in the new Insights series discusses discoveries and insights gained into biblical texts from a particular approach or perspective in current scholarship.
Synopsis: The narrative material of the Bible often presents characters engaged in actions without providing explicit guidance as to how those actions are intended to be evaluated. For example, Gideon lays out a fleece in an attempt to discern God's will, but is this intended as a model to emulate, or is it intended as a picture of desperation resulting from a lack of faith? Perspective Criticism presents a new approach to solving such quandaries, finding an untapped source of evaluative guidance in the point-of-view crafting of biblical stories. Point of view has been the forgotten child in the study of biblical narratives. Now, this book gives this literary concept its due, untangling the array of storytelling devices involved in crafting point of view and demonstrating its power in shaping the very fabric of a story. Because the majority of the point-of-view devices found in biblical narratives are also used in cinematic storytelling, the book includes detailed descriptions of movie scenes utilizing these devices to provide pop-culture illustrations of the workings of point of view. Endorsements: "What difference does point of view make? Why do we cheer for the outlaws to escape while we watch Butch and Sundance grimly ride ahead of the posse? If we had watched through the eyes of the lawmen, we would react entirely differently. Why do we like the slacker in Luke 15 instead of his hardworking brother? Yamasaki's insights into perspective criticism help us understand the visceral impact of texts." --Charles L. Aaron, United Methodist pastor, teacher, and author "Yamasaki has created a new lens through which to view biblical studies. He combines three underexamined lenses--literary theory, perspective criticism, and film studies--to produce fresh perspectives on seemingly familiar biblical stories." --Matthew G. Whitlock, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Seattle University Author Biography: Gary Yamasaki is Professor of Biblical Studies at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, BC. He is the author of Watching a Biblical Narrative: Point of View in Biblical Exegesis (2007).
Perspective Criticism sets out a new and illuminating biblical methodology designed to help the reader of biblical narratives in which there is a character engaged in action but no explicit indication from the storyteller on how the action is to be evaluated. Gary Yamasaki argues that in these cases we are receiving cryptic guidance from the author through the narrative technique of point-of-view. In such cases the methodology of Perspective Criticism may be applied to reveal this abstruse guidance. Gary Yamasaki provides a series of frames of analysis within the theory of Perspective Criticism which may be applied to biblical stories: the spatial, psychological, informational, temporal, phraseological, and ideological perspectives. Because the majority of the point-of-view devices found in biblical narratives are also used in cinematic storytelling, the book includes accessible analyses of film scenes, providing pop-culture illustrations of the workings of the point-of-view perspective. Gary Yamasaki concludes by applying his method to two case studies: the New Testament story of Gamaliel, and the Old Testament story of Gideon. In his work Yamasaki creates a valuable foundation for the deeper understanding of biblical narrative, a gift to anyone who has struggled with the concealed messages that should be divined in biblical point-of-view narratives.
In a narrative about Jesus, a character like John the Baptist would not be expected to play a role much beyond that of providing a baptism for Jesus. Yet the Matthaean narrator finds several other uses for John in the development of the narrative, not only while he is still alive, but also after he is dead. In examining John's role, Yamasaki deploys an audience-oriented critical methodology, an approach that chronicles the narrator's efforts to influence first-time readers' experience of the narrative as they proceed sequentially through the text. He traces John's characterization as 'forerunner', from a glowing introduction in ch. 3-albeit with a slight flaw in his ideological point of view on Jesus-through a progressive exacerbation of this flaw, to a rehabilitation of John in ch. 11. As a result of this rehabilitation, the narrator is able to continue to use John in his role as forerunner in the second half of the narrative, even after John's death has removed him from the story-line.>
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