What is the “White Fire” of Bibliodrama

Bibliodrama is a style and form of literary interpretation which can be explained more than one way.  As was previously explained, the bible can be thought of as containing two parts, the “black fire” and the “white fire.”  The black fire is comprised of the immutable and transcendent words on the page whereas the white fire is comprised of the spaces between those words.  Bibliodrama has as its purpose an exploration of this white fire.

A slightly different but perhaps more nearly complete understanding of the style and purpose of Bibliodrama can be obtained by thinking of it from the perspective of comparative literature.  To that end, a reading of Chapter one of Mimesis is instructive.

In this chapter, the book’s author, Auerbach, compares a classic example of western literature, that being he Odyssey, with the Old Testiment.  In the introduction, Edward Said says this of Auerbach’s comparison:

On the other hand, Auerback’s consideration of the Abraham and Isaac story in the Old Testament beautifully demonstrates how it “is like a holding of the breath……the overwhelming suspense is present….The personages speak in the Bible story too; but their speech does not serve, as does speech in Homer, to manifest, to externalize thoughts – on the contrary, it serves to indicate thoughts that remain unexpressed.”

Thus, one purpose of Bibliodrama is to explore, that is to “externalize,” these inner thoughts of the characters that remain unexpressed.  That is, to make said what is otherwise left unsaid.  This is another way of thinking about the “white fire” exploration in Bibliodrama.

Said goes on as follows:

[There is an] externalization of only so much of the phenomena as is necessary for the purpose of the narrative, all else is left in obscurity; the decisive points of the narrative alone are emphasized whilewhat lies beneath is nonexistent; time and place are undefined and call for interpretation; thoughts and feelings remain unexpressed are only suggested by silence and the fragmentary speeches; the whole is permeated with the most unrelieved suspense and directed toward a single goal (and to that extent far more of a unity), remains mysterious and ‘fraught with background.’

So again, Bibliodrama helps to externalize, that is, bring to the foreground, those parts of the biblical narrative that are otherwise left in obscurity. Also, to make expressed the otherwise unexpressed thoughts and feelings of the biblical characters.

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Patrick T. Barone is a Michigan criminal defense trial lawyer and co-founder of the Michigan Psychodrama Center. He is a Board Certified Trainer, Educator and Practitioner of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. He is also a Board Certified Psychodrama Trainer. Patrick has applied his psychodrama training in his criminal law practice and when teaching law and trial skills. He also has used sociodrama, an adjunct form of psychodrama in the business environment and Bibliodrama in the faith setting. He is the author of a chapter entitled Bringing Scripture to Life with Bibliodrama for Adam Blatner’s book entitled Action Explorations: Using Psychodramatic Methods in Non-Therapeutic Settings , (Paralax Productions, February 23, 2019). In his capacity as a business consultant, Mr. Barone has worked with business owners and executives in businesses of all sizes throughout Michigan. Additionally, Mr. Barone continues to practice law and is the founding partner and CEO at the Barone Defense Firm.