Perspective Criticism: Point of View and Evaluative Guidance in Biblical Narrative

Book, 2012, 163 pp
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The narrative material of the Bible often presents characters engaged in actions without providing explicit guidance as to how those actions are intended to be evaluated. For example, Gideon lays out a fleece in an attempt to discern God's will, but is this intended as a model to emulate, or is it intended as a picture of desperation resulting from a lack of faith?

Perspective Criticism presents a new approach to solving such quandaries, finding an untapped source of evaluative guidance in the point-of-view crafting of biblical stories. Point of view has been the forgotten child in the study of biblical narratives. Now, this book gives this literary concept its due, untangling the array of storytelling devices involved in crafting point of view and demonstrating its power in shaping the very fabric of a story. Because the majority of the point-of-view devices found in biblical narratives are also used in cinematic storytelling, the book includes detailed descriptions of movie scenes utilizing these devices to provide pop-culture illustrations of the workings of point of view.
"What difference does point of view make? Why do we cheer for the outlaws to escape while we watch Butch and Sundance grimly ride ahead of the posse? If we had watched through the eyes of the lawmen, we would react entirely differently. Why do we like the slacker in Luke 15 instead of his hardworking brother? Yamasaki's insights into perspective criticism help us understand the visceral impact of texts." --Charles L. Aaron, United Methodist pastor, teacher, and author

"Yamasaki has created a new lens through which to view biblical studies. He combines three underexamined lenses--literary theory, perspective criticism, and film studies--to produce fresh perspectives on seemingly familiar biblical stories." --Matthew G. Whitlock, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Seattle University

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