Before there was an ink-and-paper bible there were breath-and-sound stories. Scholarship is beginning to discover that “biblical cultures” experienced the scriptures not as writing but as performance. Because our post-literate culture is secondarily oral, the ancient oral storytelling traditions of the early church and of the people of Israel provide us with rediscovered models for preaching, teaching and spiritual nurture.
This retreat is meant for anyone who is interested in the Bible and storytelling (that is, pretty much everyone). It is designed to provide an engaging and informative experience of the power of biblical storytelling as well as an exploration of the oral culture (and its spirituality) from which the Bible came to be. The retreat also includes a practical component in teaching techniques for “internalizing” the stories of scripture and giving them lively expression, for doing exegesis “from the inside out.” Participants will be encouraged to begin to learn a story by heart and find connections with their life stories.
Saturday morning’s session is entitled “Why Jesus Never Wrote a Book: An Interactive Presentation on the Bible’s Oral Culture.” Saturday afternoon will focus on practical skills and is called “Off the Page, Into the Heart, Out of the Mouth: Learning by Heart and Telling with Energy, Imagination, Intelligence and Love.” We follow up on Sunday morning with “If It Was Good Enough for Jesus . . . An Exploration of the Spirituality of Oral Culture” and what that means for us as people living in a post-literate world.
A good time, a learning experience and an inspiration are guaranteed!
ABOUT THE LEADER:
Dennis Dewey is a Master Biblical Storyteller who describes his work as “helping people hear the biblical stories again for the first time.” He has performed and lectured all over the United States and Canada as well as in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Korea and Israel/Palestine and South Africa. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), he has engaged in this ecumenical ministry of storytelling since 1992. Among hundreds of his venues have been the National Storytelling Festival, Princeton Theological Seminary’s Institute of Theology, the Joseph Campbell Festival, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Lutheran National Youth Triennium and national television appearances. You can learn more about his ministry at www.DennisDewey.org.