The Power of Point of View

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the Biblical Exclamatory “Behold!”

61xKUPB15oL._AA160_by GARY YAMASAKI   For me, the most memorable shot of Raiders of the Lost Ark comes early in the movie, even before archeologist Indiana Jones starts out in search of the Ark. Before embarking on that quest, Indy is working to secure a valuable idol from deep in a cave, and is on his way out when he has an encounter with a huge boulder; here is a link to the scene: Most pertinent for our purposes is the moment when the camera catches Indy looking back over his shoulder and then cuts to a shot of the boulder rolling toward him; this captures perfectly the psychological-plane effect the word “Behold” often accomplishes in biblical narratives.

A previous post pointed out that the psychological plane of point of view has to do with whether an audience is given just views of the exterior of a character, or is also provided with looks into the inner workings of the character. Consider the Raiders of the Lost Ark clip in this regard. The clip first shows Indie looking over his shoulder, and then, immediately cuts to the boulder. To put it another way, it shows a ‘look’ and then the object captured by the look–that is, what is registering in Indy’s brain–thus qualifying it as a textbook case of an “inside view.”

In like manner, a “Behold” in a biblical text can have the effect of facilitating for the readers the image of a character suddenly turning his or her head, immediately followed by the image of what the character is now seeing. And this has the effect of transporting the readers inside the head of the character for a look out through their eyes, a move that contributes toward the readers coming to experience the action of the story line through the point of view of that character.

Modern English translations of the Bible tend to consider occurrences of the word “Behold” in the original Greek and Hebrew as superfluous, and so, leave them untranslated. This is unfortunate, for it renders invisible to the readers of these translations a key psychological-plane dynamic in the point-of-view crafting of biblical narrative passages.

2 Responses »

  1. The Indiana Jones scene (above) is an excellent illustration of the function of “behold” in biblical narrative. Well said!


  1. Cinque morti cinematografiche | Plutonia Experiment

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