Mutual indwelling: exploring untapped performance potential in both Biblical performance criticism and the Letter to the Romans
Agnew, Sarah Ruth
All biblical scholars engage with the Bible through a dynamic interplay of sensory-‐motor, affective, and relational interpretive processes, as well as cognition, because all biblical scholars are human beings. Most biblical scholarship, however, privileges the interpretive work of the intellect, of rational and objective cognition, in a hierarchical dualism that diminishes the human person and understanding of biblical compositions. This thesis seeks to foreground the fullness of embodied ways in which humans make meaning, in the particular task of biblical interpretation. It does so through an auto-‐ ethnographic study of the author’s practice as a performer-‐interpreter, and introduces a new method of exegesis with an Embodied Performance Analysis of the letter to the Romans. The Analysis will highlight a theme of mutuality in the letter, through gesture, voice, audience-‐shaped translations and abridgements, and the love-‐filled and joyful call to enact mutual embrace that is heard in the climax at Rom 16. The thesis will offer to performers, scholars, and leaders of corporate worship a method and practice through which to understand and communicate how their body, emotions, and listeners are shaping their interpretations. All scholars do feel emotion, have an audience in mind, and are embodied beings. This thesis brings the full human person to the task of biblical scholarship, encouraging an attitude of mutual indwelling for more complete interpretations, with the inherently mutual Embodied Performance Analysis.
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