The Power of Point of View

point of view in BIBLICAL NARRATIVE rss

Seeing the Birth of Jesus Through “2000-Year-Old” Eyes

June 29, 2017

by GARY YAMASAKI  While posts on this site over the past five years have examined many different components of the workings of ‘point of view’ in the crafting of biblical stories, the present post represents a “first” in that it addresses the issue of cultural point of view. It is clear that the manipulation of… Read More ›

Solving Samson’s Riddle

by BRYAN NASH   The stories of Samson are some of the most beloved of Scripture. For the person in the pew, reading about Samson’s flowing locks and Herculean strength is more entertaining than the latest attempts of Hollywood on the big screen. And for the moralistic preacher, the Samson cycle of the book of Judges… Read More ›

Article on “The Bible and Interpretation” Website Addresses P.O.V. Crafting in Gen. 22

by GARY YAMASAKI   “The Bible and Interpretation” is a website which endeavors “to bring the latest news and information in the field of biblical studies to a wide readership and to contact scholars for comment and analysis,” and one of their recent articles includes coverage of point-of-view crafting in biblical narrative. The article focuses on the cinematic-story approach to… Read More ›

Point of View in the David and Goliath Narrative (1 Sam 17): Part 2

by JESSE C. LONG JR.   In a previous post, I presented an analysis of the opening scenes of the David and Goliath story (Masoretic Text), which highlights the artistry in the narrative in the use of point of view to create contrast between Saul and David. Character divergence is indirectly crafted by introducing Goliath through… Read More ›

A New Approach to the “We-Passages” of the Book of Acts (Part 2)

by GARY YAMASAKI    Part 1 of this post introduced a new approach to analyzing the “we-passages” of Acts by suggesting that the alternation between the third-person “they” language and the first-person “we” language in the narration of Acts might be attributable simply to the conventions of the time which called for third-person narration when a sense of… Read More ›

A New Approach to the “We-Passages” of the Book of Acts (Part 1)

by GARY YAMASAKI   The presence in the Book of Acts of passages where the usual third-person narration gives way to the first-person “we” has given rise to a veritable maelstrom of debate, spawning a number of theories as to how these passages should be taken: as a reflection of a convention for utilizing first-person narration… Read More ›

Does Acts 9 characterize Saul of Taursus as an “Anti-Hero”?

by GARY YAMASAKI   In a previous post, I addressed the point-of-view dynamics behind why we feel empathy for anti-heroes in movies. In this post, I will explore the possibility that the Acts 9 depiction of Saul of Taursus characterizes him as a biblical example of an anti-hero. Saul first appears in Acts in the scene of the stoning… Read More ›

Genesis 22: God Gambles on Freedom

by CHARLES AARON   Interpreters often portray Genesis 22 as an example of Abraham’s faith. God demands the sacrifice of Isaac, the son through whom God will, supposedly, fulfill the promise to Abraham of becoming the father of many nations. Abraham demonstrates faith in his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, stopped at the last minute by the… Read More ›

Perspective Criticism & the Gerasene Demoniac (Mark 5:1-20)

by CALOGERO A. MICELI   One of the latest books I have read is Gary Yamasaki’s recently published monograph Perspective Criticism: Point of View and Evaluative Guidance in Biblical Narrative (2012). Yamasaki’s book highlights the importance of understanding the role of the storyteller and how the story of a biblical text is selectively narrated to the… Read More ›

Point of View in the David and Goliath Narrative (1 Sam 17)

by JESSE LONG JR.   After reading Perspective Criticism (Yamasaki 2012) last fall, I set out to analyze the story of David and Goliath from the perspective of point of view. While I had addressed point of view in an article on the Jacob and Esau narrative (Long 2012), Gary Yamasaki’s significant work further stimulated my… Read More ›

Sympathizing with a Most Unexpected Character in Mark

by STEVE BLACK   It has been argued that point of view can be used as a means of getting the reader to sympathize with a given character. Yamasaki argued additionally “if readers are led to have a subjective experience of a character—another way of saying ‘viewing the events of the story line through a character’s point… Read More ›

Another word on Mark 6:47-52. . .with a focus on “Focalization”

by STEVE BLACK   I wish to consider Mark 6:47-52, in the light of some of the conversation on this blog concerning it. I should note that my interest at this point is not so much the staging of this passage in a live presentation as it is a narratological analysis. Focus has been made in… Read More ›

Rejoinder to ‘How Perspective Criticism Actually Works (demonstrated by an SBL paper on the point-of-view crafting of Mary at the Tomb in John 20)’

by ROBERT TANNEHILL   It is good to ask whether the different planes of point of view reinforce each other or limit each other, as Gary Yamasaki argues in the post entitled How Perspective Criticism Actually Works contrasting the spatial point of view of following with the psychological and informational. However, in doing this I think… Read More ›

How Perspective Criticism Actually Works (demonstrated by an SBL paper on the point-of-view crafting of Mary at the Tomb in John 20)

by GARY YAMASAKI   I had the opportunity to present a paper on “perspective criticism” at the recent Society of Biblical Literature meetings in Chicago. It analyzes John 20:11ff. (“Mary at the Tomb”), focusing on the three planes of point of view introduced in earlier posts. A report of this paper’s findings should function well as… Read More ›

Who Knew What When? Meir Sternberg’s “Informational Axis” and the Four Leprous Men of Samaria (2 Kgs 7:3-5)

by GARY YAMASAKI   With some narrative accounts in the Bible, you can’t help but view the events through the point of view of particular characters. You may not know why it is happening, but you can’t deny that it is happening. One such case is the account of the four leprous men of Samaria (2… Read More ›

“Why do we pull for Jesus in the gospels?” One Unexpected Reason

by GARY YAMASAKI   In a story, there will often be a single character who attracts the spotlight. This, of course, is the case in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with Jesus occupying that role, though the degree to which the spotlight stays on Jesus in these stories is noteworthy. Take the Gospel of Mark as… Read More ›

What Luke 24:51 is NOT trying to depict

by GARY YAMASAKI   Is it really true that biblical storytellers are able to manipulate point-of-view devices in a text to control even the angle from which their readers view a given scene in their mind’s eye? This is a claim made near the end of the post entitled “Perspective Criticism: Everything you never realized you… Read More ›