Narratives are the concrete manifestation of an author’s subjectivity. They function as that person’s voice, and should be treated with the same respect that is granted to all voices. In Interpreting New Testament Narratives, Eric Douglass develops this ethical perspective, so that narratives are treated as communication, and the author’s voice is regarded as a valued perspective. Employing a cross-disciplinary approach, Douglass shows how readers engage narratives as mental simulations, creating a temporary possible world that readers enter and experience. To recover communication, readers locate the events of this world in the culture of the intended audience, and translate this meaning into the modern reader’s worldview. Using a staged reading design, this initial reading is followed by readings of critique.
Eric Douglass, M.Div., ThM., M.D., is adjunct faculty at Randolph-Macon College, where he teaches in the religion department. He has presented numerous academic papers in literary theory, and is author of Reading the Bible Ethically (Brill, 2014).
1 Reading under Ethics 1 Writing as an Intentional Act 2 Reading as an Intentional Act 3 The Author’s Voice and the Reader’s Ethics 4 Assumptions, Implications, and Method
2 Communication: Ordinary and Literary 1 Ordinary Communication 2 Narrative Communication: Authors 3 Literary Communication: Readers 4 Literary Communication: Authors and Readers 5 Disjunctions: When Communication Fails 6 Summary
3 Locating the Text 1 An Overview 2 A Two-Self Reading System 3 Locating the Text 4 Identifying the Intended Audience 5 Characterizing Otherness 6 Summary
4 Entering the Storyworld 1 What is Narrative? 2 An Introduction to Identification 3 Identification and Character Construction 4 Identification and Attachment 5 Identification and Investment 6 Identification and Commitment 7 Summary
5 Many Characters, Many Perspectives 1 Strategies for Identification 2 Engaging Other Characters 3 Interest Bias and Evaluative Standard 4 Summary
6 Experiencing the Event 1 Mental Simulations and Serious Meaning 2 The Reading-Self and Modal Realism 3 The Actual-Self and Moderate Realism 4 The Experience of Event: Letters to Words 5 The Experience of Event: Words to Sentences 6 The Experience of Event: Beyond Sentences 7 Summary
7 Translating Story-Meaning 1 Communicating Meaning 2 Translating Meaning: Loyalty 3 Translating Meaning: Equivalence and Similarity 4 Translating Meaning: Relevance 5 Evaluating Validity: the Effects of Moderate Realism 6 Summary
8 Markan Examples 1 The Call of Levi (Mk. 2:14) 2 Storm at Sea (Mk. 4:35–41) 3 The Woman with a Hemorrhage (Mk. 5:25–34) 4 The Parable of the Sower (Mk. 4:3–20) 5 The Darkening of the Sun and Moon (Mk. 13:24–26) BibliographyIndex
All scholars and graduate students who study narrative, with special interests in hermeneutics, interpretation, cognitive narratology, post-classical narratology, ethical criticism, and cross-cultural communication.