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Re: [John_Lit] Readers once more

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  • Kenneth Litwak
    I haven t followed all this discussion, but I think it is worth pointing out two scholarly works when trying to identify what the original audience of John s
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 1, 2001
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      I haven't followed all this discussion, but I think it is worth
      pointing out two scholarly works when trying to identify what the
      original audience of John's Gospel was. First is that of Luke Timothy
      Johnson, in his NT Intro, in which he talks about mirror reading. This
      is the act of reading, say, John's Gospel, to determine its audience and
      then using that construct to interpret John's Gospel. I am not accusing
      anyone of doing that. I think, instead, that it is simply something to
      keep in mind while constructing implied readers and determining the
      significance of that construction. The second is the volume edited by
      Bauckham, The Gospel for All Peoples, which tackles the audience
      question. I haven't read the section on John, but the section on Luke
      makes a strong case that we should not try to understand Luke's message
      as simply a reaction to some situation. Instead, we need to let Luke
      (and John) address whatever they want to address, regardless of whether
      or not that represents a "problem" they think must be addressed. I'm
      not a Johannine scholar, but in my own area of study, Luke-Acts, I can
      emphatically recognize that one of Luke's emphases is that of Jesus and
      his disciples as Israelite prophets. It is not appropriate to reason
      from this that there was some issue for Luke's audience regarding
      "prophets." It may mean nothing more than that this motif was important
      to Luke for any number of reasons. We do not know why for sure, but it
      is better, I think, to look for that reason within Luke-Acts (or the
      Word motif within John) than within some hypothetical community. It
      amazes me that someone could write a entire tome on the community of the
      beloved disciple. Since the connections between the Fourth Gospel and
      Ephesus are not that strong, there really is little we can confidently
      say in that regard, IMO.

      I'm not sure why it is important whether John's major audience
      listened to his work rather than read it themselves silently or out
      loud. In any scenario what is most important, I think, is that they
      encountered it sequentially, not interpreting John 1 in the light of
      John 20, because they had not gotten that far yet. Perhaps I am missing
      something in this thread?

      Ken Litwak
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Just a boring question from me: Is Prince French or American? In starting this thread, I referred to him as French -- based upon the following bibliographical
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 2, 2001
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        Just a boring question from me:

        Is Prince French or American? In starting this thread,
        I referred to him as French -- based upon the
        following bibliographical entry:

        Raman Selden, "A Reader's Guide to Contemporary
        Literary Theory" (Brighton, Sussex: Harvester Press,
        1985), p. 126, refers to the "French original in
        'Poetique' no. 14 (1973), 177-96" of his "Introduction
        to the study of the narratee".

        However, I have also since seen the following
        reference to Prince's ideas:

        Martin McQuillan, "Introduction: There is no such
        thing as reader-response theory", in Julian Wolfreys,
        ed., "Literary Theories: A Reader and Guide" (New
        York: New York University Press, 1999), p. 146, refers
        to "The American Narratologist Gerald Prince".

        So, what is his nationality? Is he French but working
        in an American university?

        Jeffery Hodges

        =====
        Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
        447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
        Yangsandong 411
        South Korea

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      • Staley, Jeffrey
        Kenneth Litwak writes: In any scenario what is most important, I think, is that they encountered it sequentially, not interpreting John 1 in the light of John
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
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          Kenneth Litwak writes:

          In any scenario what is most important, I think, is that they encountered
          it sequentially, not interpreting John 1 in the light of John 20, because
          they had not gotten that far yet. Perhaps I am missing
          something in this thread?

          Jeff Staley writes: "they encountered it sequentially," this, I think IS
          very important. The dynamics of gospel storytelling and its
          [possible/plausible] effects, is something we have largely lost in our
          historical and/or theological training.

          Jeff Staley
        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          ... In speaking of readers/hearers, do we mean only naive first-time readers/hearers? Does each of the reader categories that we ve identified characterize a
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
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            Kenneth Litwak writes:

            > In any scenario what is most important, I think, is
            > that they encountered it sequentially, not
            > interpreting John 1 in the light of John 20, because
            > they had not gotten that far yet. Perhaps I am
            > missing something in this thread?

            In speaking of readers/hearers, do we mean only naive
            first-time readers/hearers?

            Does each of the reader categories that we've
            identified characterize a naive first-time reader?

            It seems to me that even the narratee or the implied
            reader could be intended by the writer as more
            sophisticated -- perhaps even one expected to
            interpret John 1 in the light of John 20 on a
            first-time reading because the meaning of John 20 had
            also been conveyed in other ways, e.g., preaching,
            teaching, previous versions of the Johannine
            manuscript, etc.

            Jeffery Hodges

            =====
            Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
            447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
            Yangsandong 411
            South Korea

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          • John N. Lupia
            Horace Jeffery Hodges et alia: As I mentioned earlier I had been off list for several weeks and have not caught up with the plethora of postings. However,
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
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              Horace Jeffery Hodges et alia:

              As I mentioned earlier I had been off list for several weeks and
              have not caught up with the plethora of postings. However, Jeff, I
              found you started a thread that persists to this day regarding
              reception theory.

              I don't know if any of the following helps but it is my concise and
              incomplete survey on the subject that shows Prince in context.

              Reception theory or as it is more popularly now called
              Reader-Response Criticism, the study of the readers role in the
              text grew out of the New Criticism, a critical theory of literature
              analysis that emerged in the 1920's led by I. A. Richards
              (1893-1979), William Empson (1906-1984), and Cleanth Brooks
              (1906-198), based on the theory of the Russian and Czech
              theorists of the formalist critical view.

              "Decontextualization", term coined by the Russian psychologist,
              Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (1896-1934) wherein the reader
              makes the text part of the culture. Readers decontextualize an
              idea and recontextualize it as a product attribute, so that the birth
              of Jesus becomes identified with the St. Matthew's "Star of
              Bethlehem", or the Passion of Christ becomes identified with St.
              John's "Ecce Homo".

              Reception theory was first formaly proposed by Roman Ingarden
              (1931) The Literary Work of Art, that focused on how the reader
              puts the text together by filling in its indeterminancies.

              William Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, "Intentional Fallacy" in
              The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry (Lexington:
              University of Kentucky Press, 1954), 194.

              They developed the idea of an "agnostic reader" who could never
              know the psychological processes of the author since they are
              inaccessible to the interpreter. We cannot know the mind of the
              author and have only their text . Therefore, it is the text that
              should be examined, not the author. They assert that "the
              design or intention of the author is neither available nor
              desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of
              literary art." "The poem is not the critic's own and not the author's
              (it is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world
              beyond his power to intend about it or control it). The poem
              belongs to the public"

              New Critics, Wimsatt & Beardsley are interested in
              historio-critical methods since they reconstruct the historical
              context in which the verbal context was first spoken to distinguish
              it from how it now stands.

              Epistemic rhetoric, a term coined by Robert Scott (1967) "On
              Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic" Central States Speech Journal,
              18: 9-17, put forth the rhetorical theory that the truth conveyed in
              the text is not found a priori outside of it nor within the speaker
              but through the dialogue between the writer and the reader.
              Scott's view coincides with that of Fish.

              Deconstruction, a branch of literary theory, developed about
              1970, demonstrates the contradictions in structuralists
              principles of textual analysis. This approach was developed
              primarily by Jacques Derrida. This method begins with isolating
              a structural relationship and identifying the priorities that give it
              its center. Deconstruction reverses the expected priorities to
              show the basis of the opposition is questionable forcing the
              reader to rethink their validity as well as all binary contrastive
              analyses.

              Jacques Derrida, 'Discussion.' The Structuralist Controversy:
              The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man. Ed.
              Richard Macksey & Eugenio Donato. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
              UP, 1970. 265-272.

              Jacques Derrida:
              http://www.hydra.umn.edu/derrida/

              Roland Barthes (1973) The Pleasure of the Text, focused on the
              personal sensations of the reader. In his work, Image, Music,
              Text (NY, 1977) he presents a post-structuralist view with the
              famous line: "The text is a tissue of quotationsdrawn from the
              innumerable centers of culture" quoted by all in the know
              academes. Barthes developed the concept of the competant
              reader or the "encoded implicit reader", i.e., what assumptions
              are implicitly assumed on the part of the reader to comprehend
              the text.

              Gerald Prince, A grammar of stories; an introduction, (The
              Hague, Mouton, 1973) developed his concepts of what we now
              know as narratology (Narratology : the form and functioning of
              narrative, Berlin ; New York : Mouton, 1982).

              Wolfgang Iser Der implizite Leser. Kommunikationsformen des
              Romans von Bunyan bis Beckett. Theorie und Geschichte der
              Literatur und der schönen Künste. Texte und Abhandlungen, Bd.
              31. Uni-Taschenbucher; 163. Munich: Fink, 1972; (1978) The Act
              of Reading, focused on the reader's familiarity with the literary
              techniques and conventions of the text echoing Barthes'
              "encoded implicit reader".

              "The convergence of text and reader brings the literary work into
              existence."
              Wofgang Iser, "The Reading Proscess: A Phenomenological
              Approach," in Reader Response Criticism, ed. Jane P.
              Tompkins (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980),
              50.


              Wolfgang Iser and Sanford Budick, The Translatability of
              Cultures: Figurations of the Space Between. Irvine Studies in the
              Humanities. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 1996.

              "Deconstruction: A Trialogue in Jerusalem." Mishkenot
              Sha'ananim Newsletter [Jerusalem] (December 1986), 7: 1-7.
              Wolfgang Iser, Jacques Derrida and Geoffrey Hartman. Abridged
              and edited version of a trialogue that took place in August 1986.

              Whereas, Stanley Fish (b. 1938) focused on what the text means
              to you.

              Prince's theory:

              1) the ideal reader (the perfectly insightful reader),
              2)the virtual reader (the reader in the author's mind),
              3) the actual reader (the reader who happens to be reading the
              text)
              4) the narratee (the reader addressed by the narrator).

              Nos. 2 & 4 are redundant. since formal and informal address in
              this sense are equivalents.

              Other models include but are not limited to:

              (1) the empirical reader, every reader of the text spanning time
              and culture.
              (2) "encoded implicit reader" cited in the text with the phrase "you
              yourselves".
              (3) "encoded explicit reader"

              Cordially in Christ,
              John
              <><
            • Horace Jeffery Hodges
              Ross, my skepticism about memory concerns the claim made that in ancient oral culture, listeners could recall an entire, lengthy discourse word for word after
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
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                Ross, my skepticism about memory concerns the claim
                made that in ancient oral culture, listeners could
                recall an entire, lengthy discourse word for word
                after hearing only one time. I find this unlikely
                because it would mean flawlessly and rapidly (in real
                time) transferring items of information from very
                limited short-term memories to long-term memories. I
                would need to see some evidence for this as a common
                ability in antiquity.

                Some people may have special gifts -- Isaac Asimov
                could (reportedly) read a document quickly and retain
                it word for word in his long-term memory. There may be
                individuals who have this gift for aural information.

                I also accept that the ancients may have developed the
                capacity of their short-term memories in ways that we
                don't -- or may have had greater rates of information
                transfer into long-term memory than we do.

                They may also have had special memory techniques --
                mnemonic devices and such -- that enabled them to
                retain word for word what they were hearing if they
                needed to.

                But for any and/or all of this, I need more evidence
                than a "wry smile." ;.)

                John, you have provided a wealth of information and
                bibliography. I wish that I had your familiarity with
                these details.

                I just want to raise a point, and perhaps someone more
                informed than I can respond. You state:

                > Reception theory or as it is more popularly now
                > called Reader-Response Criticism, the study of the
                > readers role in the text grew out of the New
                > Criticism, a critical theory of literature analysis
                > that emerged in the 1920's led by I. A. Richards
                > (1893-1979), William Empson (1906-1984), and Cleanth
                > Brooks (1906-198), based on the theory of the
                Russian
                > and Czech theorists of the formalist critical view.

                My understanding is that New Criticism was an
                independent lit-crit development that borrowed from
                Russian Formalism but was not actually based upon it.
                Also, it appears -- even from your post -- that
                Reception Theory developed by drawing upon many
                sources, of which, New Criticism was merely one.

                Jeffery Hodges

                =====
                Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
                Yangsandong 411
                South Korea

                __________________________________________________
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                Buy the perfect holiday gifts at Yahoo! Shopping.
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