Heythrop Journal 53 (2):204-216 (2012)

In the twentieth century one interpretative perspective is curiously and strikingly absent: spatiality of narrative. Philosophical thought saw fundamental ontology as founded on temporality with space as decoration. Johannine inquiry has tended to follow in philosophy's temporal footsteps. However, it is plausible to assume that New Testament writers were spatially oriented while modern interpreters have been ensconced in temporal consciousness. Furthermore, as anthropology has long recognized, conceptions of space and place are central to any culture's sense of self. The undue hermeneutic privileging of linearity and causality may have forced biblical texts into a temporal mode of reading that their original authors may not have intended.In understanding biblical worlds it is necessary to again explore spatiality. This essay will introduce textured spatiality as it applies to John 9. It will briefly review temporal thought and consciousness and explain how visual imagery is an essential component to the transmission and preservation of tradition. Textuality will also be used to tell the tale of the man born blind. Using the nature of Shabbat as a pivot, and a narrative juxtaposition of two contrasting Sabbath spaces, the paper will point to a possible Urcarnivalesque element in the chapter
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2265.2009.00528.x
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