Religious Stories We Live By

Narrative Approaches in Theology and Religious Studies


Stories have always been important in religion, but systematic explorations of the narrative dimensions of religion are more recent and interdisciplinary explorations of narrative approaches in theology and religious studies are scarce. Religious Stories We Live By paves the ground for these much needed interdisciplinary conversations. It first offers philosophical, psychological, and epistemological reflections on the importance of narrative approaches in the study of religion. The subsequent sections contain case studies and disciplinary overviews of narrative perspectives in biblical, empirical, systematic, and historical approaches in theology and religious studies. Combined, the contributions showcase the potential of narrative perspectives in bridging theology and religious studies, as well as descriptive and normative approaches. Narrative perspectives offer a fruitful common ground for the study of religion.

Contributors include Angela Berlis, Marjo Buitelaar, James Day, Maaike de Haardt, Marieke den Braber, Luco van den Brom, Marjet Derks, Toke Elshof, Dorothea Erbele Küster, John Exalto, Ruard Ganzevoort, Joep van Gennip, Annelies van Heijst, Chris Hermans, Liesbeth Hoeven, Anne-Marie Korte, Edwin Koster, Marit Monteiro, Michael Scherer-Rath, Klaas Spronk, Piet Verschuren, Wim Weren, and Willien van Wieringen.
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Biographical Note

R.Ruard Ganzevoort, Ph.D (1994) teaches practical theology at VU University Amsterdam. He published extensively on pastoral and practical theology, incuding a narrative-based introduction to pastoral care and religion and popular culture.

Maaike de Haardt, Ph.D (1993) teaches Religion and Gender (Raboud University) and Religion and Culture (Tilburg University). She published on religion and culture, the sacred/divinity in everyday life, and recently particulary on the city, city life and culture as 'places for the sacred'.

Michael Scherer-Rath, Ph.D (2001) teaches practical theology and empirical studies of religion at Radboud University Nijmegen. He published on religion, the narrative reconstruction of experiences of contigency and a narrative approach of religious counseling.

Table of contents

List of Contributors ... ix

Introduction. Religious StoriesWe Live By ... 1
R. Ruard Ganzevoort

‘Show, Don’t Tell’. The (Ir)rationality of Religious Stories ... 19
Edwin Koster

Narrative, Postformal Cognition, and Religious Belief ... 33
James M. Day

Narratives of the Self in the Study of Religion. Epistemological Reections Based on a Pragmatic Notion ofWeak Rationality ... 55
Chris Hermans


A Short Story of Narratology in Biblical Studies ... 75
Dorothea Erbele-Küster

Saramago’s Reshaping of Cain and God. A Study in Characterization and Intertextuality ... 89
Wim J.C.Weren

Jericho is Shouting. Narrative and Rhetoric in Joshua 6 ... 99
Marieke den Braber

The Story of a Gang Rape as a Means of Liberation. A Contextual Reading of Judges 19 ... 109
Klaas Spronk

Showcasing the Little Sister. The Grammatical Lives of Samson’s Women (Judg changed to SBL abbreviation 13–16) as a Syntactic Supplement to Narratological Analysis ...117
Willien van Wieringen


Narrative Reconstruction as Creative Contingency ... 131
Michael Scherer-Rath

Dialogical Constructions of a Muslim Self through Life Story Telling ... 143
Marjo Buitelaar

Religious Narrative and the Body ... 157
Toke Elshof

An Instrument for Reconstructing Interpretation in Life Stories ... 169
Jos van den Brand, Chris Hermans, Michael Scherer-Rath, and Piet Verschuren


Narrative Theology. A Structural Overview ... 183
Luco J. van den Brom

Mourning for Yasmina: A Passion Narrative. Storytelling and Social Engagement in Urban Ministry ... 195
Anne-Marie Korte

Visual Narratives. Entrance to Everyday Religious Practices ... 209
Maaike de Haardt


Changing Narratives. The Stories the Religious Have Lived by since the 1960’s ... 221
Marit Monteiro, Marjet Derks, and Annelies van Heijst

Telling Authorized Stories. The Dynamics of the Dutch Pietistic Narrative Community ... 241
John Exalto

Publish or Perish? The Polemical and Apologetic Publications of the Jesuits in the Low Countries (17th Century) ... 251
Joep W.J. van Gennip

Means of Submission or Symbol of Protest? The Habit of the Sister of St Charles Borromeo Amalie Augustine von Lasaulx (1815–1872) ... 263
Angela Berlis

A Religion en plein public. Charlotte Salomon and the Theatre of Memory ... 279
Liesbeth Hoeven



This book is of interest to scholars and students in theology and religious studies, students of narrative, and culture.