Bibliolog as a Short Form of Bibliodrama

In her book Bibliolog: A Creative Access to the Bible, Uta Pohl-Patalong sets out to first describe how Bibliolog and Bibliodrama are different. The balance of the book provides the reader with a how-to manual for conducting Bibliolog.

Uta Pohl-Patalong is a is a German Protestant theologian and Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Kiel.  She had been involved in the German Bibliodrama Society, and in 2006 formed the “Netzwerk Bibliolog” which meets annually and provides a 5-day training session in Bibliolog.

As Professor Pohl-Patalong has explained, Peter Pitzele created his form of Bibliodrama in the United States in the early 1980’s.  Concomitant to this, Germany developed a different form of Bibliodrama. Many features distinguish the two forms; for example,  German Bibliodrama almost exclusively utilizes Christian texts, whereas, Pitzele’s Bibliodrama is conceived as a form of the Jewish tradition of Midrash.  Nevertheless, Pitzele’s form of Bibliodrama can utilize texts from either the Hebrew or the Christian Bibles.  As a way of distinguishing between the two forms, Professor Pohl-Patalong calls Pitzele’s form of Bibliodrama Bibliolog.

Furthermore, the German form of Bibliodrama is best utilized in the small group setting, perhaps with as few as 8-10 participants. This small group work with the Christian texts lends itself to a deeper personal experience where the text is purposefully more directly related to a person’s life and spirituality. This form of Bibliodrama can often last several days, and is, according to Professor Pohl-Patalong, rarely completed in less than a day.  By contrast, Pitzele’s method of Bibliodrama offers a method to work with much larger groups, including those that may exist in a congregation or classroom. While participants in this “large group” Bibliodrama can never divorce their own life experience from the way they embrace and interpret the text, personal work is not a goal, and various methods are utilized to preclude entering into this personal space. Pitzele refers to this personal aspect of Bibliodrama as the mirror, i.e., the reflection of one’s own life experience into the text being explored.  Pitzele’s form of Bibliodrama is sometimes called the “short form” by Europeans because it can be completed in as little as 20 minutes.  Thus it easily lends itself to the Sunday morning church setting.

Standing alongside Peter Pitzele’s own Scripture Windows, Toward a Practice of Bibliodrama, Bibliolog: A Creative Access to the Bible offers an excellent introduction to methods and techniques of Bibliodrama, and offers fundamental training that will assist the novice in facilitating a Bibliodrama experience.