Visionary Spaces: Narrating Spaces in Vision Reports


All narratives transport their readers from a given real space into another space, in which the story takes place. In the case of visionary narratives, this transport becomes particularly complex: Visions are told by resp. about someone who himself is being, or was, commuted into a transcendent reality by way of a vision, a dream, or a travel. The visionary space may refer to the given or narrated space in quite diverse ways: It may be real or imaginary, possible or impossible, stable or fluid. Moreover, it may be purely functional with respect to the story or it may become itself an “acting place” (Mieke Bal); the visionary narrator or speaker may or may not be part of the visionary space.

The proposed workshop discusses types, aspects and functions of visionary spaces by applying narratological approaches. In recent years, the spaces depicted in narrative texts have become a core topic of narratological research. The workshop focusses on the construction of space in visionary narratives. How does the construction of space corroborate the vision’s truth? What kind of authority does the author claim for his vision? Do religious and literary concepts of space compete with each other? The workshop intends to provide an interdisciplinary exchange, profitable for both Old and New Testament exegetes, between exegesis and narratology inviting scholars from theology and literary studies. Investigated texts may include visions in OT, NT and its contexts as well as in non-biblical literary texts of various epochs up to modernity. Results of mutual interest can be expected by the application of narratological means and of spatial turn-theories (Lefebvre, Soja, Löw) in the analysis of space in vision narratives of different languages, contexts and cultures. The discovery of structural similarities with respect to the construction and function of spatial concepts for the genre “vision report” promises, moreover, new insights for the interpretation of the unique visionary text. There is currently no session with a narratological focus at the EABS. In terms of content, the proposed workshop ideally complements the current session “Vision and Envisionment in the Bible and its World”, which focuses in its 2020 session on real places where people in the biblical world receive visions.


Narratology, Space, Vision, Dream


Michaela Geiger
Protestant University Wuppertal

Matías Martínez
Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Member Area

Wuppertal 2021 Call for Papers

This unit is not accepting any new proposals for the 2021 conference

For the 2021 EABS meeting in Wuppertal we invite you to submit an abstract that analyzes the construction of space in biblical or literary vision reports. The approach should provide insights on constructions and functions of narrated space in visionary texts.