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Monday, April 19, 2010

boundaries: scenarios & stories pt. 2

In my last post I suggested that the arrival of Jesus and the disciples by boat was not a part of the exorcism scenario. An exorcism embedded in a complex narrative episode may not have any time or location information attached specifically to the exorcism. It may inherit the time and location from a larger narrative segment. To illustrate this read Mark 9:1-29. In verse 14 we read Καὶ ἐλθόντες πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς, but there is no indication where the disciples were located. The last location mentioned in the story is found in Mk 9:9a Καὶ καταβαινόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ ὄρους and that location note is dependent on the previous time and location mentioned in Mk 9:2 Καὶ μετὰ ἡμέρας ἓξ παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ τὸν Ἰωάννην καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν κατ᾿ ἰδίαν μόνους. So there is a chain of dependency concerning time and location which links Mk 9:2,9,14.

My current thinking, which could change momentarily, is that including attributes (slots) from a generic "story episode" scenario within each species of story episode, e.g. travel by boat, storm at sea, exorcism, creates a lot of unnecessary redundancy in the the network of semantic frames/scenarios. Attributes (slots) which are universal to story episodes should be recorded at a higher level of the semantic hierarchy and inherited rather than duplicated. The attributes of an exorcism scenario should function such that a mere mention of the attribute will activate the scenario, making all the attributes of exorcism "accessible" as "hearer old" information.

To illustrate, a "reading scripture" scenario in the NT is prototypically associated with the Synagogue. For this reason, a mere mention of Synagogue as a location will make the "reading scripture" scenario available, in other words "reading scripture" becomes "hearer old" by activating Synagogue. Fishing in the gospels is generally associated with boats and the Sea of Galilee (a.k.a. Lake of Gennesaret). The mere mention of a boat in the gospels makes both the Sea of Galilee and fishing active, "hearer old" even if no fishing takes place in the pericope.

By contrast an exorcism scenario in the gospels does not associate prototypically with a type of location. Arriving by boat in Mk 5:1-2 does not make the exorcism scenario active or "hearer old". In like manner coming down of the mountain in Mk 9:9 does not activate the exorcism scenario. For this reason the location slot in the story episode frame probably belongs somewhere else, not in the definition of the exorcism scenario.

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