Book: Re-Reading the Visions in The Shepherd of Hermas
Chapter: Experiencing the Journey
Chapter Four is divided into two sections. The first discusses how cognitive literary theory’s understandings of spatiality and journeying can be understood strategically to heighten a reader’s watchfulness for what will happen in the narrative. Hermas’s nighttime journey and waiting in the field function purposefully to prepare the reader for the vision of the Tower in Vis. 3. This strategic framing is found in other apocalypses and has not been appreciated by modern scholars who rush to interpret the Tower vision. The second part of the chapter applies cognitive literary theory’s understanding of narrative worlds and spaces, including approaches known as ecocriticism and wayfinding, and applies them to Hermas’s fourth vision of the beast. This chapter argues that reading the Book of Visions in a bookroll format allows for the accumulation of affect and anticipation within the reader as he or she moves from this portion of the Shepherd into the later sections of ethical instruction.