The Logic of True Narrative Representations -- By: John W. Oller, Jr.

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 02:2 (Aug 2000)
Article: The Logic of True Narrative Representations
Author: John W. Oller, Jr.


The Logic of True Narrative Representations

John W. Oller, Jr., Ph.D.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Steven Collins, Ph.D.

Trinity College and Seminary

John Oller is Professor and Head of Communicative Disorders at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504–3170 (and Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico).

Steven Collins is Professor of Biblical Studies and Archaeology, and Executive Director of Trinity College and Seminary, Albuquerque Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112.

A shorter version of this paper was presented at the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting in Santa Clara, California on November 20, 1997. A shorter version of this paper was presented at the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting in Santa Clara, California on November 20, 1997. The authors want to acknowledge partial support for the work reported here in the form of a research and travel grant to the first author from the Non-Directed Fund of the Korea Research Foundation for academic year 1996–1997. We are also grateful to Dr. Kunok Kim and Dr. Yongjae Paul Choe who helped to obtain those funds. Any errors, of course, are our own.

Theories of narrative logic and narratology have been applied to Biblical hermeneutics, but have depended on fictional writings in their formation.1 Studies of fiction, however, cannot uncover or explain the unique formal perfections of true stories, i.e., of true narrative representations (TNRs). It has been shown that the logical peculiarities of TNRs are not shared by fictions (nor even by true general representations).2 Also, while the meanings of fictions and generals can be shown in TNRs the reverse is impossible. The reason is that all fictions and generals depend on TNRs to obtain relatively determinate meanings. TNRs are the only representations that are (1) relatively determinate with respect to their embodied meanings, (2) well-connected to the matter-space-time continuum, and (3) fully generalizable to all possible contexts (real or imagined) with respect to their relatively well-determined content. It follows that if the Bible is a TNR in its original autographs, genuine facts of history cannot contradict it, nor it them.

I. Introduction

This paper has a three-fold purpose: first, to show the distinctive formal character of true narrative representations (TNRs) the kind of assertive representations found in true stories that report nothing false of the facts they are about; second, to show why TNRs are crucial to hermeneutic studies of history and science and of all representations that aim to ...

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