The Power of Point of View

Tag: bible

S.B.L. Book Review Session on “Perspective Criticism” (part 7): Response to Yamasaki’s Response

by STEVE BLACK   I am beginning to think that I am not sure that I find Yamasaki’s concept of “point of view character” to be useful. I prefer simply to think of “point of view” rather than “point of view character.” In essence, point of view is the point of entry that the narrator gives to… Read More ›

S.B.L. Book Review Session on “Perspective Criticism” (part 6): Response to Whitlock Review

by GARY YAMASAKI   Matt’s review of Perspective Criticism provides a relatively rare perspective, that of a biblical scholar who is also a literary critic trained in the study of the modern novel. Such a perspective is most welcomed in the discussion of point-of-view crafting, a topic right in the wheelhouse of literary critics, but so foreign… Read More ›

S.B.L. Book Review Session on “Perspective Criticism” (part 5)

by MATTHEW WHITLOCK   It is appropriate to respond to Gary’s work with a quote from the crafter-of-point-of view-in-chief, Marcel Proust: “Only by art can we emerge from ourselves, can we know what another sees of this universe that is not the same as ours and whose landscapes would have remained as unknown to us as… Read More ›

S.B.L. Book Review Session of “Perspective Criticism” (part 4): Response to Black Critique

by GARY YAMASAKI   Steve Black’s review of Perspective Criticism reflects a keen grasp of the fact that the essence of point of view relates to the perspective through which readers are led to experience the events described. This is nowhere more evident than in his treatment of the Mark 1 account of Jesus’ baptism, where Steve… Read More ›

S.B.L. Book Review Session on “Perspective Criticism” (part 3)

by STEVE BLACK   Gary Yamasaki’s Perspective Criticism uses “point-of-view analysis” as a means to clarify puzzling passages in the Bible. Through point of view, the reader experiences characters as remote or close. If they are viewed as close, then they are also viewed sympathetically, and this can result in a merger of sorts between reader… Read More ›

SOCIETY OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE Book Review Session on “Perspective Criticism” (part 1)

by FRANCIS LANDY   Perspective Criticism is a wonderfully enjoyable book, which shows us how the manipulation of the point of view of the reader facilitates identification or dissociation from characters, and thus conditions our emotional and evaluative response. Gary intersperses discussions of films, in which point of view is the result of the combination of… Read More ›

Does Acts 6:5 function to establish Stephen as a Point-of-View Character?

by GARY YAMASAKI   A previous post suggested the “badge of reliability” may qualify as an ideological-plane device for leading readers to experience a specific narrative event through the point of view of a particular character. This post looks to a textual feature of the Book of Acts as a possible means by which the badge of… Read More ›

Moving conversation with Tannehill to “Micro-View” of Ideological Plane (part 5)

by GARY YAMASAKI   In response to my question “through whose perspective an audience is being led to experience the action,” Robert Tannehill responded that it is the “ideological perspective of the implied author. . .the perspective of the work as a whole as a complex of interacting parts, dynamically arranged.” And while what he says… Read More ›

In Response to Yamasaki’s Query on Ideological-Plane Dynamics (part 4)

by ROBERT TANNEHILL   This comment continues the conversation with Gary Yamasaki which began with his post on the ideological plane of point of view. I recognize the distinction that Yamasaki makes in his rejoinder post between the ideological plane and the ideological “matrixes” of the implied author and the characters. If one wished to do a thorough… Read More ›

Rejoinder to Tannehill’s post on Ideological (or Evaluative) Plane of Point of View (part 3)

by GARY YAMASAKI   In this post, Robert Tannehill provides some helpful correctives to the portrait of ideological point of view presented in my earlier post. However, there are also some portions of his post against which I would like to provide some push-back. Tannehill is surely right when he asserts that “all the other planes contribute… Read More ›

YouTube clips from “Star Wars” and “The Gods Must Be Crazy” to help unpack Phraseological Plane of Point of View

by GARY YAMASAKI   The phraseological plane of point of view is definitely the least significant of the six–it being the least utilized–but it has got to be the most fascinating for its ability to influence in a most unassuming fashion through whose point of view an audience experiences an event. Unfortunately, this plane’s transition… Read More ›

Toward Further Clarification of the Ideological (or Evaluative) Plane of Point of View (part 2)

by ROBERT TANNEHILL   In this post, Gary Yamasaki rightly points out that ideological point of view cannot be reduced to theological belief, and that the ideological plane is more complex than the other planes. However, it would have been helpful to add the reason for that complexity: all the other planes contribute to the ideological… Read More ›

The Ideological Plane of Point of View: “so crucial, yet so misunderstood” (part 1)

by GARY YAMASAKI   The concluding paragraph of this post mentions that much work needs to be done to clarify the role of the ideological plane of point of view in a storyteller’s efforts to dictate through whose point of view their audience experiences a given event, and this post constitutes a first step in that regard. Of… Read More ›

Observing Impact of Linguistics on Point-of-View Crafting. . .with the help of a “Neanderthal”

by GARY YAMASAKI   “. . .The bushes twitched again. . . .A head and a chest faced him, half-hidden. . . .The man turned sideways in the bushes and looked at Lok along his shoulder. A stick rose upright and there was a lump of bone in the middle. . . .Suddenly Lok understood that… Read More ›

The Acts of God Through the Perspectives of the Apostles

by MATTHEW WHITLOCK   Sometimes perspective criticism begins not by asking what is seen, but by asking what is not seen. The Blair Witch Project—unlike the reveal-all horror movies of today—never shows its antagonist. The audience never sees the Blair Witch. They only hear rumors about her and see the results of her actions. Similarly, Alfred… 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 ›

The First-Person Narration in Ezra as a Point-of-View Issue

by MARK BODA   Much ink has been spilled over the past century over the controversial shifts in person in the account of Ezra in Ezra 7-10. The account begins in 7:1-11 with a third person account about Ezra which introduces a document written in the first person voice of King Artaxerxes, commissioning Ezra for service… 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 ›

The Seahawks, the “historical present” and Point of View on the Temporal Plane

by Gary Yamasaki   Third and five, on the Redskins 27. . .Wilson is in the shotgun. . .he takes the snap and hands off to Lynch trying the left side. . .he cuts to the right and evades a tackle. . .he has the first down. . .he gets to the outside. . .crosses the… Read More ›

Unmixing Our Metaphors, Media, and Methods: A Response to Phil Ruge-Jones

by LEON SEAMAN   Gary Yamasaki’s work on point-of-view dynamics is rooted in literary criticism, but draws on the analogy of camera angle in film to illustrate these dynamics. When I read his first book, Watching a Biblical Narrative, its title suggested the interaction between reading text and watching film or live performance. Yet it might… Read More ›

(quarter)YEAR in REVIEW. . .and a look ahead to a New Year of Perspective Criticism

by GARY YAMASAKI   This blog was launched three months ago, and from the beginning, it has been intended as a site for the collective development of biblical scholarship. Specifically, it exists as a venue for dialogue on the interpretive significance of the point-of-view crafting in biblical narratives. So, week after week, ideas on this topic… Read More ›

Another Take on the Crafting of a Performance of Mark 6:47-52 – PHIL RUGE-JONES

I’ve been invited to chime in out of my own performance experience. I do think that the audience is supposed to empathize with the disciples in order to see themselves in the complex responses of the disciples and think about their own responses. They have been tossed about by storms; they have been haunted as… Read More ›

Blocking Mark 6.47-52 for Live Solo Performance: A Response to Yamasaki and Tannehill – LEON SEAMAN

In my first two posts, I noted all-too-briefly how Gary Yamasaki’s work on point-of-view planes influenced my own work of Markan performance. I attended to some aspects, but not to others, of certain scenes, and my inattention has drawn critique from Yamasaki, joined by Robert Tannehill. To address their concerns let me first discuss my… Read More ›

Further Comment on Mark 6:49-52 – ROBERT TANNEHILL

I agree with Gary Yamasaki (Responding to How Seaman Would Craft a Performance of Mark 6:49-52) that it is a mistake to present the disciples in Mark 6:49-52 from an external (“objective”) perspective, because, as he pointed out, there is a cluster of inside views of the disciples in this passage. Furthermore, this passage shows clearly… Read More ›

Responding to How Seaman Would Craft a Performance of Mark 6:49-52 – GARY YAMASAKI

Over the past month, Leon Seaman has contributed two posts addressing ways in which attention to point-of-view dynamics impacts his performance of Mark. The earlier one–Perspective in Live Performance: To Embody or Not to Embody?–focuses on how he embodies certain characters–that is, mimics their speech and gestures–and does not embody others, and he includes descriptions… 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)’ – 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 Yamasaki fails to… Read More ›

Helping an Audience to Get the Point (of View) in Performance – LEON SEAMAN

In my last post, Perspective in Live Performance: to Embody or Not to Embody, I briefly told how perspective criticism helped me block Mark’s baptism and transfiguration scenes for performance. A simple “s/he/they saw” may be a clue to whose viewpoint is to be embodied or not. Of course, point of view dynamics are rarely… Read More ›

Synching Minds: “Butch Cassidy” and the Informational Plane of Point of View

by GARY YAMASAKI   The classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid makes for an intriguing study in  point-of-view crafting. Such a study could explore any of the three planes of point of view developed in earlier posts, but it is the informational plane that will be the focus of this post. The Oct 25/2012 post… 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) – 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 a demonstration of… Read More ›

Does Abram have Sarai claim she is his “sister” (Gen 12: 13) as a ploy to obtain wealth? A look at point of view on the “Psychological Plane” – GARY YAMASAKI

The film Being John Malkovich presents the intriguing concept of a portal providing access into the mind of real-life actor John Malkovich. So, a character uses the portal to get inside this actor’s head, and the camera follows the character and shoots out through Malkovich’s eye sockets to show all he is seeing. Thus, the… Read More ›

NEW BOOK on “Perspective Criticism”

Now available from Cascade Books, Perspective Criticism: Point of View and Evaluative Guidance in Biblical Narrative, a full-length treatment of this methodology of point-of-view analysis. This book is designed as an introduction to analyzing point-of-view crafting in biblical narratives, setting out the full range of storytelling devices used in the manipulation of point of view. One… Read More ›

Perspective in Live Performance: To Embody or Not to Embody? – LEON SEAMAN

The post entitled How might ‘Live Performances’ of Biblical Passages be influenced by Awareness of Point-of-View Dynamics?  raises an intriguing question, and one that could (and should) be addressed at length. I’ll offer just a couple of brief observations from my own experience in performing Mark. First, the observation that not every character should be… Read More ›

How might “Live Performances” of Biblical Passages be influenced by Awareness of Point-of-View Dynamics? – GARY YAMASAKI

I have been a fan of live performances of biblical passages for a long time. My first such experience was about 25 years ago, and it was not actually a live performance, but rather, a video-recording of a live performance: David Rhoads as storyteller for the whole Gospel of Mark. As I remember it, he… Read More ›

Who Knew What When? Meir Sternberg’s “Informational Axis” and the Four Leprous Men of Samaria (2 Kgs 7:3-5) – 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 Kgs 7:3-5). So,… Read More ›

“Am I to approve or disapprove of this biblical character?” Point-of-View Crafting Provides an Answer – GARY YAMASAKI

Have you ever had the experience of sitting in a movie theatre, and becoming so engrossed in the movie that you forgot you are in a theatre? This happens to me often. . .this becoming lost in the story world of a movie. And this dynamic isn’t restricted just to cinematic stories. This can happen… Read More ›

“Why do we pull for Jesus in the gospels?” One Unexpected Reason – 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 an example. From… Read More ›

Who says, “You have to be objective”? Not biblical storytellers! – GARY YAMASAKI

The posts to this point have set out some of the basics of point-of-view analysis, but they have not addressed the “So what?” question. Sure, it may be that the point-of-view crafting of a certain text is leading the readers to view the action from this angle as opposed to that angle, but does this… Read More ›

What Luke 24:51 is NOT trying to depict – 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 wanted to know… Read More ›

‘Perspective Criticism’: Everything you never realized you wanted to know about ‘Point of View’

by GARY YAMASAKI   “Point of view” has been the forgotten child in the study of biblical narratives. “Plot” and “character”—its more popular siblings—have found eager adoptive parents among biblical scholars looking to the study of the modern novel for insights into how biblical stories might be analyzed. While point of view has received many looks… Read More ›