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A Narratological Approach to Early Christian Stories

The narratives circulated among early Christians have evolved into some of the most influential stories in human history, significantly impacting cultures worldwide to this day. Owing to their enduring influence, they warrant a comprehensive examination not only through historical and theological lenses but also a meticulous narratological analysis. When explored as narrative texts, their interpretation is greatly enriched by the application of categories delineated within the interdisciplinary realm of narratology. Conversely, a focused study on these pivotal canonical and non-canonical texts can offer profound insights into the broader study of narrativity.

This website showcases the endeavors of an international junior research group based at the University of Munich, a premier German institution. Our project has been graciously funded with 1.4 million Euros by the Elite Network of Bavaria, an initiative aimed at drawing internationally leading scholars to the universities of this state. Our group harbors a particular interest in the narratological category of focalization. A succinct overview of our project is accessible here.

Dr. Christoph Heilig

Bio:

Among my variegated research interests, the significance of text linguistic and narratological research for New Testament exegesis ranks high. I am the author of a big monograph on a narratological approach to the letters of Paul. I received the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award 2022 for this work. In 2024, Eerdmans will publish Paul the Storyteller: A Narratological Approach. At the moment, I am leading an international research group at the University of Munich. Our focus is on the narratological category of focalization / narrative perspective in early Christian texts. I serve as the project leader in this endeavor. Moreover, I am studying the synoptic problem, exploring how the parameter of narrative perspective might explain different portrayals of the same event. In the little free time that my two sons leave me, I anjoy writing fiction and tasting Greek wines.

Further details:

Christoph Heilig

Dr. Ellen Howard

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Bio:
I have always been fascinated by narrative and language. My academic career began in the study of English literature and composition. However, I ultimately decided to specialize in one very old book and now do research as a New Testament scholar. Specifically, I specialize in the grammatical and narratological analysis of New Testament and Early Christian texts. My research has most recently resulted in my doctoral thesis on the verbal aspect of perfect and pluperfect verbs in New Testament narrative literature. As a member of this project, I have the intriguing task of analyzing the potential narratives in the writings of Paul. Primarily, I am interested in narrative perspective within the Pauline epistles, especially the relationship between grammatical viewpoint and narrative perspective. To relax, I enjoy watching movies with my dog while sipping on a warm cup of tea. 

Further details:

CV

Triantafillos Kantartzis

Bio:

The world behind biblical texts has always fascinated me, especially when such texts come from the extracanonical area. My research into the cultural background of early Christian texts was greatly aided by studying The Use of Color in the Apocryphal Apocalypses of Peter and Paul. To broaden my mastery of biblical studies, I ventured into three new and challenging areas. The first was a second Master's degree in Bible translation, focusing on the delicate transmission of “meaning” and “text” into target languages. The second is the fascinating, at least to me, world of palaeography. By studying biblical manuscripts and comparing the variants of their philological content, I came even closer to the source texts and perceived the semantic load of the “use of language.” The third area concerns narrative perspectives and focus. Building on my previous expertise in the apocryphal world, I will explore the narrative perspectives found in the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. My research overlaps closely with IDP Philology, fostering a collaborative synergy. Our collaboration with IDP Philology not only increases the depth of our textual investigations, but also enriches the interdisciplinary discourse surrounding early Christian narratives.

Apart from my academic interest in the biblical field, I have spent my free time creatively pursuing a wide variety of hobbies. One that is quite related to, if not an outgrowth of, my research interest is traditional bookbinding. It involves leatherworking and even some woodworking, giving me the opportunity to expand my world of hobbies to include even more new crafts!

Further details:

CV

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