Prepare the Way of the Lord: Towards a Cognitive Poetic Analysis of Audience Involvement with Characters and Events in the Markan World

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This study analyzes an oral performance of the entire Gospel of Mark, with emphasis on involvement with characters and events, the emotional effects of such involvement, and how these processes maintain or shape the identity of those who hear the Gospel. Insights from cognitive poetics and psychonarratology are employed to illuminate the complex, cognitive processes that take place when audience members experience an oral performance of the Gospel. Consequently, this study expands previous research on the Gospel of Mark which was conducted on the basis of narrative criticism, orality criticism, and performance criticism by including cognitive aspects. Cognitive poetics and psychonarratology have to my knowledge not been extensively employed to illuminate an oral performance of the Gospel of Mark previously. This investigation provides: (1) An original, coherent theoretical and methodological framework; (2) An analysis of mechanisms which promote involvement with characters and events in the Markan narrative; (3) An examination of the prospective emotional effects of such involvement; (4) Reflections on the potential of these mechanisms with regard to identity maintenance or formation through cultural memory; (5) A cognitive poetic commentary on the entire Gospel of Mark.