‘Asleep by grief’ (Lk 22: 45): Reading from the Body at the Crossroads of Narratology and New Historicism

Claire Clivaz


In his recent book Narrative Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Narratology, Daniel Punday proposed to think the crossing between the contingent reading of New Historicism and the general reading of Narratology through the concept of a ‘corporeal narratology’. This proposition can allow us to think together History and Poetics, separated by W. Booth and his followers. The paper proposes first of all to understand this separation as one of the last effects of the modernist dislocation of the language, as M. Foucault has analysed it. Secondly, the paper tries to decipher the arrival of so-called ‘narrative criticism’ in the biblical sciences, and to evaluate in which measure a corporeal narratology can help thinking together History and Poetics in this field of research. Finally, the Lukan mention of the disciples ‘asleep by grief’ (Lk 22:45) will serve as illustration: generally underestimated, this expression signals a turning-point in the Lukan topic of ‘eyewitnesses’ (cf. Lk 1: 2). A corporeal struggle can be read in Luke-Acts from the beginning of the Gospel that considers ‘many have laid hands on’ (Lk 1: 1).


Luke 22:45

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391