(Commendations From Scholars)

“In this engaging book, Borgman and Clark open the ears of their readers to the patterns that helped n ancient oral culture hear and respond to the good news. In so doing, they offer us the opportunity to hear the good news afresh and to respond with renewed vigor to the message of Jesus.” Ruth Anne Reese, Asbury Theological Seminary

“This is a wonderfully written, theologically alert, and practically purposeful book. Teachers and clergy alike, who are keen to lead their students and parishioners in close readings of Scripture, will want to add this book to their libraries. Highly recommended!”
Robert Wall, Seattle Pacific University and Seminary

“Written to be Heard pays huge dividends for modern/postmodern readers of the gospels today, as the authors show how ‘oral performance’ connects each successive unit to an emerging new whole and thus establish a cadence of advancing coherence, significance, and lasting impact of Jesus’s many interactions with his ‘followers.’ Indeed, Borgman and Clark advance narrative comprehension to a new level!” David P. Moessner, Texas Christian University.

The Forward for Written To Be Heard  by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale University, Professor Emeritus)


You and I, literate citizens of the modern world, typically engage the New Testament gospels in the same way we engage most narratives: we read them; we don’t listen to them read aloud. And in our reading, we naturally employ the habits and skills we have acquired for reading and interpreting modern narratives, historical or fictional. We read the gospels as if they were modern narratives.
Some of us listen to passages from the gospels read aloud in church. But the printed liturgy for the day usually includes the text of the passage, inviting us to follow along by reading. And even if we don’t follow along, our listening is no different, in essentials, from reading the passage for ourselves.

Almost always, our reading of the gospels consists of reading snatches. Few of us have ever read a gospel straight through, and, almost certainly, none of us has ever listened to a gospel read aloud straight through. We don’t have time. In our liturgies, our group Bible studies, our private devotions, we content ourselves with snatches.

In our interpretation of what we read, we typically treat each gospel as part of that larger composition which is the Gospels, or the New Testament. And we employ theological lenses—the lens of Pauline theology, the lens of the theology of the book of Hebrews, or some alternative. We interpret what one of the gospels says about salvation, about sin, about righteousness, about Christ’s crucifixion, in the light of what the other gospels say about those matters and through the lens of our theology.