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RE: [John_Lit] Readers

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  • Matson, Mark A. (Academic)
    ... While I appreciate that documents were read orally in antiquity, are we sure that the gospels were always written to be read in a church assembly? Are
    Message 1 of 17 , Dec 4, 2001
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      Ross Saunders wrote:

      > They knew that somebody would stand up in an assembly of the faithful
      > and read out some of their words to those listening.
      > The only 'reader' was the one appointed to read the text
      > aloud, and the
      > only 'listener' was those who had gathered on the Lord's Day
      > to worship
      > and be taught in their faith.

      While I appreciate that documents were read orally in antiquity, are we sure
      that the gospels were always written to be read in a church assembly? Are
      there other venues (e.g. private gatherings, synagogues, symposia, etc) that
      might have been envisaged as possible situations in which a document may
      have been read? I think this possible reconstruction of the audience of a
      text is crucial, and I am not at all sure that it is always a church
      setting, let alone a liturgical type (i.e. worship) setting.

      > The FG was written for those believers in a particular
      > community. We may
      > differ on where that community may have been. But the
      > author/s designed
      > it for that community, and knew it would be read aloud and studied
      > within that community's worship environment.

      And here is where I am really having some trouble with both the FG and other
      gospels. Why do we assume that a gospel was written to a specific
      community? Can we be that sure? Here I want to echo also what Ken Litwak
      wrote in his recent post. It is possible, is it not, that John as well as
      the other gospels were written to be distributed and read in more than one
      setting, more than one community? When I read John's statement of
      intention, in 20:30-31, it sounds more evangelistic than sectarian. What if
      we took him seriously -- does that change the way we read the FG? It seems
      we have come under the sway of those who suggest a sectarian community, a
      narrow group, a Johannane school, etc. But I am not convinced (and I would
      welcome suggestions on where the text mandates such a reading) that John was
      written only for a specific community and meant to be read within that
      community.

      > I want to make this very clear: I am not in any way denying
      > the value of
      > some of these methods of interpretation. I have found them valuable in
      > reading modern texts. The course in semiology I did as part
      > of my first
      > degree was invaluable and a real eye-opener. But as a way of
      > getting at
      > the connection between the author/s of the FG and the first
      > community of
      > listeners, I find it seriously flawed. It presupposes a culture of
      > reading and writing that did not come into being for several hundred
      > years.

      Now what I am suggesting is not a private reading, a private interpretation.
      But I do want to problematize the Johannine community or any narrow
      community orientation for the 4G, and indeed for all the gospels. Returning
      the beginning of this thread, is the implied reader of this gospel
      necessarily (a) already a Christian, (b) a sectarian Johannine christian,
      (c) such that the gospel is meant to affirm and strengthen the peculiar
      approach of that group. Can we not imagine the implied reader to be a
      broader fictional construct on the part of the writer, that is a group of
      readers who have a variety of views toward Jesus, perhaps even "Jews" who
      have questions about the nature of this Jesus and therefore might be
      implicated and examine their own beliefs in light of the totality of the
      story?

      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean, Milligan College
      http://www.milligan.edu/Administrative/MMatson/personal.htm


      >
    • Staley, Jeffrey
      Mark Matson wrote: Can we not imagine the implied reader to be a broader fictional construct on the part of the writer, that is a group of readers who have a
      Message 2 of 17 , Dec 4, 2001
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        Mark Matson wrote:

        Can we not imagine the implied reader to be a
        broader fictional construct on the part of the writer, that is a group of
        readers who have a variety of views toward Jesus, perhaps even "Jews" who
        have questions about the nature of this Jesus and therefore might be
        implicated and examine their own beliefs in light of the totality of the
        story?

        Jeff Staley writes: Yes, I can imagine this, especially when looking at the
        various characters one finds in FG and the multiplicity of responses to
        Jesus (e.g., the lame man, blind man, Samaritan woman, Mary and Martha).
        These characters responses to Jesus are more fully developed than most in
        Synoptics

        Jeff
      • Staley, Jeffrey
        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 3 of 17 , Dec 4, 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:

          I have thought French, but I never tried to verify this.

          Jeff Staley
        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          How many readers/hearers do we have now? 1) Narratee 2) Implied Reader/Hearer 3) Ideal Reader/Hearer 4) Actual Reader/Hearer Are there any others? I can
          Message 4 of 17 , Dec 4, 2001
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            How many readers/hearers do we have now?

            1) Narratee

            2) Implied Reader/Hearer

            3) Ideal Reader/Hearer

            4) Actual Reader/Hearer

            Are there any others? I can imagine at least one
            other. Previously, I stated that we hermeneuts are
            actual readers striving to be ideal readers, but that
            doesn't quite capture our way of reading -- if I
            understand "ideal" reader correctly. An Ideal Reader
            would follow and understand every move made by the
            writer as the writer intended it. I think that we fit
            into a different category:

            5) Critical Reader

            I suppose that there could be a Critical Hearer, too.
            Anyway, a Critical Reader would understand more than
            the writer understood -- in effect, could understand
            better. What, for example, are Freudian readings but
            an attempt to do precisely this, i.e., to understand
            the writer's meaning better than the writer did.

            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
            Anyway, if there are phenomenological differences, then this should have implications for reader-response theory. But would it mean the deconstruction of
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 7, 2001
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              Anyway, if there are phenomenological differences,
              then this should have implications for reader-response
              theory. But would it mean the deconstruction of
              categories like "narratee"? We can still make
              distinctions among types of "hearers", can't we?
              Couldn't we have:

              Ideal Hearer

              Implied Hearer

              Addressee

              Actual Hearer

              Jeff Staley writes:

              Jeffery, I do find SOME of these distinctions can be helpful when thinking
              about narrative. First, however, I think the term narratee is valuable and
              should be kept--over against the narrator. For example, in Jesus' parable
              of the Good Samaritan, Jesus is the narrator, the lawyer is clearly the
              narratee, not the ideal, implied, or actual hearer/reader. Typically, the
              narratee may or may not function as the implied/ideal hearer/reader. In
              this case, since we do not know what the lawyer's response was to the
              Jesus-narrator's "Go and do likewise," we can't be sure how the
              narratee-character functions from this text alone (we would have to look at
              all lawyers in Luke-Acts to see what particular ideological point of view is
              connected with them). Should we assume the implied/ideal hearer/reader
              should obey Jesus' words regardless of lawyer's response? Probably yes.
              Should we assume the addressees obeyed? Not at all. We don't have a clue
              as to their response. Should we assume that actual hearers/readers did/do
              obey? Depends on who you are talking about.

              Jeff Staley
            • Staley, Jeffrey
              How many readers/hearers do we have now? 1) Narratee 2) Implied Reader/Hearer 3) Ideal Reader/Hearer 4) Actual Reader/Hearer 5) Critical Reader/Hearer I
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 7, 2001
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                How many readers/hearers do we have now?

                1) Narratee

                2) Implied Reader/Hearer

                3) Ideal Reader/Hearer

                4) Actual Reader/Hearer

                5) Critical Reader/Hearer

                I suppose that there could be a Critical Hearer, too.
                Anyway, a Critical Reader would understand more than
                the writer understood -- in effect, could understand
                better.


                jeff Staley writes:
                these categories are better, Jeffery. I would only want to reiterate, that
                #1, #4, #5 can also be resistant "readers," that is, objecting, rejecting
                and revising in response to hearing/reading. #1 and #4 can be stupid,
                misunderstanding readers/hearers. I trust that whatever #5 means, its
                objections, critical responses are not based upon stupidity--though this
                could be a value judgment . . .

                Jeff Staley
              • Paul Anderson
                ... Thanks, Jeff, and there are certainly many sorts of critical readers today. Any sense of how to find overlap between these types, as well as distinctives?
                Message 7 of 17 , Dec 7, 2001
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                  johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com writes:
                  >
                  >How many readers/hearers do we have now?
                  >
                  >1) Narratee
                  >
                  >2) Implied Reader/Hearer
                  >
                  >3) Ideal Reader/Hearer
                  >
                  >4) Actual Reader/Hearer
                  >
                  >5) Critical Reader/Hearer
                  >
                  >I suppose that there could be a Critical Hearer, too.
                  >Anyway, a Critical Reader would understand more than
                  >the writer understood -- in effect, could understand
                  >better.

                  Thanks, Jeff, and there are certainly many sorts of critical readers
                  today. Any sense of how to find overlap between these types, as well as
                  distinctives?

                  Paul Anderson
                • Staley, Jeffrey
                  Thanks, Jeff, and there are certainly many sorts of critical readers today. Any sense of how to find overlap between these types, as well as distinctives?
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 7, 2001
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                    Thanks, Jeff, and there are certainly many sorts of critical readers
                    today. Any sense of how to find overlap between these types, as well as
                    distinctives?

                    Just an additional note, Paul, when I said that "I would only want to
                    reiterate, that #1, #4, #5 can also be resistant "readers," that is,
                    objecting, rejecting and revising in response to hearing/reading" I would
                    also say that surprise, reconsideration, revising, and objecting" can also
                    be part of the "implied/ideal readers/hearers" repetoire, but that
                    ultimately, when the reading is done, "implied/ideal readers/hearers" are
                    finally "assenting readers/hearers," whereas many real audiences and
                    critical readers can finish the book and reject it; and not be transformed
                    by it in the way the narrative rhetorics "demands/invites."

                    Oh my, I really must get back to grading final exams!

                    jeff Staley


                    Jeff Staley
                  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                    Paul, did you mean to address me (Jeffery) or Jeff (Staley)? I wrote: How many readers/hearers do we have now? 1) Narratee 2) Implied Reader/Hearer 3) Ideal
                    Message 9 of 17 , Dec 7, 2001
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                      Paul, did you mean to address me (Jeffery) or Jeff
                      (Staley)?

                      I wrote:

                      How many readers/hearers do we have now?

                      1) Narratee

                      2) Implied Reader/Hearer

                      3) Ideal Reader/Hearer

                      4) Actual Reader/Hearer

                      5) Critical Reader/Hearer

                      I suppose that there could be a Critical Hearer, too.
                      Anyway, a Critical Reader would understand more than
                      the writer understood -- in effect, could understand
                      better.

                      You (Paul) asked:

                      > Thanks, Jeff, and there are certainly many sorts of
                      > critical readers today. Any sense of how to find
                      > overlap between these types, as well as
                      distinctives?

                      All of them can probably be deconstructed, but that's
                      not my goal.

                      There is certainly overlap.

                      I'd say that an actual reader could be an implied
                      reader in some cases. A private letter might have only
                      one implied reader who happens to be the actual
                      reader.

                      This actual reader might also strive to be a critical
                      reader -- striving to understand things that the
                      writer himself might not have understand.

                      An ideal reader is an idealization and so would
                      (probably) never be actualized though some critical
                      readers might strive for this status.

                      Could a narratee be any of the others? If the narrator
                      happens to be the author who happens to be addressing
                      a real person who happens to be reading the text, I
                      guess that the various permutations already mentioned
                      are possible.

                      Of course, if we want to take the deconstructionist
                      turn, all readers -- like all writers -- are
                      idealizations, ideological constructs that attempt to
                      fix the flux of uncentered and multiple subjects....

                      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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                    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                      ... I reply: I was thinking of the Addressee as the equivalent to the Narratee in a dramatic reading of a text. But I m quite willing to stick to
                      Message 10 of 17 , Dec 9, 2001
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                        I previously wrote:

                        > > Couldn't we have:

                        > > Ideal Hearer

                        > > Implied Hearer

                        > > Addressee

                        > > Actual Hearer

                        Jeff Staley responded:

                        > Jeffery, I do find SOME of these distinctions can be
                        > helpful when thinking about narrative. First,
                        > however, I think the term narratee is valuable and
                        > should be kept--over against the narrator.

                        I reply:

                        I was thinking of the "Addressee" as the equivalent to
                        the "Narratee" in a dramatic reading of a text. But
                        I'm quite willing to stick to "Narratee".

                        Jeffery Hodges

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

                        __________________________________________________
                        Do You Yahoo!?
                        Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
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                      • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                        ... I reply: I was thinking of the Addressee as the equivalent to the Narratee in a dramatic reading of a text. But I m quite willing to stick to
                        Message 11 of 17 , Dec 9, 2001
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                          I previously wrote:

                          > > Couldn't we have:

                          > > Ideal Hearer

                          > > Implied Hearer

                          > > Addressee

                          > > Actual Hearer

                          Jeff Staley responded:

                          > Jeffery, I do find SOME of these distinctions can be
                          > helpful when thinking about narrative. First,
                          > however, I think the term narratee is valuable and
                          > should be kept--over against the narrator.

                          I reply:

                          I was thinking of the "Addressee" as the equivalent to
                          the "Narratee" in a dramatic reading of a text. But
                          I'm quite willing to stick to "Narratee".

                          Jeffery Hodges

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

                          __________________________________________________
                          Do You Yahoo!?
                          Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
                          http://greetings.yahoo.com
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