Perspective Criticism: Point of View and Evaluative Guidance in Biblical Narrative

By Gary Yamasaki

An study of how perspective criticism (analysis based on narrative perspective) enables interpretation of biblical stories even where their intent is unclear.

ISBN: 9780227173992


Perspective Criticism sets out a new methodology designed to help the reader of biblical narratives in which there is a character engaged in action, but no explicit indication from the storyteller on how the action is to be evaluated. Gary Yamasaki convincingly argues that in these cases we are receiving guidance in a less obvious fashion, although not told what opinion to form, through the narrative point of view.

In such cases perspective criticism may be applied, an approach designed to uncover evaluative guidance that may be encoded in the point-of-view crafting of biblical narratives. Yamasaki provides a series of frameworks for analysis, such as: spatial, psychological, informational, temporal, phraseological, and ideological. His clear and accessible style provides modern cultural references and points of comparison with biblical narrative, which may be evaluated in the same ways; for example, a cinematic example of the spatial point of view may be seen in the 1985 film Das Boot, which deals with submarine warfare. Yamasaki concludes by applying his method to two useful case studies: the New Testament story of Gamaliel, and the Old Testament story of Gideon.

Perspective Criticism creates a valuable foundation for a deeper understanding of the bible, a gift to anyone who has struggled with the seemingly ambiguous messages of biblical point-of-view narratives.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Gary Yamasaki is Professor of Biblical Studies at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, British Columbia. He is the author of Watching a Biblical Narrative: Point of View in Biblical Exegesis (2007), and is the founder of the Perspective Criticism Website (


1. Point-of-View Crafting: An Untapped Source of Evaluative Guidance
2. Spatial Plane of Point of View
3. Psychological Plane of Point of View
4. Informational Plane of Point of View
5. Temporal Plane of Point of View
6. Phraseological Plane of Point of View
7. Ideological Plane of Point of View
8. When the Planes Concur … and When They Do Not
9. A Perspective-Critical Analysis of the Butch Cassidy Clip
10. New Testament Case Study: Gamaliel (Acts 5:35-39)
11. Old Testament Case Study: Gideon (Judges 6:36-40)

Scripture Index
Movie Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Yamasaki has created a new lens through which to view biblical studies. He combines three underexamined lenses – literary theory, perspective criticism, and film studies – to produce fresh perspectives on seemingly familiar biblical stories.
Stephen Fowl, Chair of the Department of Theology, Loyola College

An innovative book in eleven chapters, Perspective Criticism aims to renew biblical methodology with a new approach coined as ‘perspective criticism’.
Yves Laberge, in Theological Book Review, Vol 26, No 1