Textual Ethnography: The Art of Listening to Texts

  • Daniel Frim
Keywords: Text, exegesis, cultural projection, cultural reconstruction, empathy, Northwest Coast, Bible.


In this autoethnographic essay, I reflect on my efforts to move beyond the conceptual and aesthetic horizons of my cultural background via the analysis of texts produced within foreign cultures. I examine several relevant interpretive strategies, stressing the distinction between projective and reconstructive modes of exegesis. I then discuss the challenges that are involved in gaining an appreciation for the aesthetic and emotional qualities of foreign texts without misreading them in the hermeneutic framework of one’s own culture.