Item description for The Strange Gospel: Narrative Design and Point of View in John (Biblical Interpretation Series) by James L. Resseguie...
In this literary analysis of the Gospel of John, Resseguie examines rhetoric, setting, character, and plot to uncover the Gospel's unique point of view. He shows the usefulness of the concepts of defamiliarization and point of view for understanding how the narrator makes the familiar seem strange. A material, familiar point of view that is voiced by the dominant culture is compared with a defamiliarized, strange point of view that is expressed by Jesus and the disenfranchised. Through close readings of narrative texts, the author develops and elaborates the theological perspective of John, which emerges in the clash of differing points of view. The introduction defines "objective" and "subjective" point of view, and shows the value of the works of Boris Uspensky and Susan Sniader Lanser for understanding the Gospel of John. In chapter one, irony, misunderstandings, and double entendres are shown to be important rhetorical tools in the Gospel's attempt to make the familiar seem strange. Chapter two discusses point of view as it is expressed in architectural settings (sheepfold, garden, courtyard, praetorium, well, temple, and tomb) and in topographical settings (sea, mountain). Chapter three highlights the distinct points of view of Jesus, Nicodemus, religious authorities, the world, the royal official, the man at the pool, the man born blind, Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, the beloved disciple, and Judas. Chapter four discusses the point of view that emerges from an analysis of the plot. The final chapter is a summary of the narrative's singular point of view. This work is a suitable introduction to a literary analysis of the Gospel of John. It makes an important contribution to narrative criticism on the Fourth Gospel in particular, and to our understanding of defamiliarization and point of view in general. The book confronts head-on habitualized and familiar ways of thinking in the ancient world and today.
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James L. Resseguie (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is the author of several narrative-critical studies, the most recent of which is Spiritual Landscape: Images of the Spiritual Life in the Gospel of Luke. He is the J. Russell Bucher Professor of New Testament at Winebrenner Theological Seminary.