Chapter

Of Things Seen and Unseen: Graceful Reading and Narrative Practice in <i>Grace Abounding</i>

Michael Davies

in Graceful Reading

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780199242405
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602405 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199242402.003.0004
 Of Things Seen and Unseen: Graceful Reading and Narrative Practice in Grace Abounding

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Grace Abounding teaches the reader about spiritual understanding and interpretation, beyond the rational comprehension of doctrine alone, by recounting how learning to read the Word for the Spirit rather than for the stories of Scripture was central to Bunyan’s conversion. Interpretation and spiritual understanding are also central to the text’s narrative construction and its presentation of spiritual experience, which demand a conversion of the reader’s perceptual habits. Using McHale’s terms, Grace Abounding foregrounds the ‘ontological’ (i.e., matters of being and believing) over the ‘epistemological’ (i.e., what is rationally knowable). The text’s narrative structure, use of metaphor, and its status as autobiography, are viewed in anti-narrative terms, frustrating any interest in the ‘story’ of Bunyan’s conversion, while encouraging the reader instead to contemplate ‘things unseen’.

Keywords: anti-narrative; autobiography; conversion; epistemological; interpretation; McHale; metaphor; narrative; ontological

Chapter.  24704 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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