Gary Yamasaki did his undergraduate work in Commerce and Business Administration, then attained his Law Degree (University of British Columbia), and was called to the Bar of the Law Society of British Columbia. However, he sensed a call to leave the Law and pursue graduate studies in New Testament, and received a Certificate of Christian Studies at Regent College (Vancouver, BC), a Master of Divinity at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, IN), and a Ph.D. at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (Richmond, VA). From there, he moved on to a faculty position at Columbia Bible College (Abbotsford, BC) where he taught for twenty-six years, and currently teaches online for Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Trinity Western University (MA Leadership Program).
Research & Scholarship
Gary Yamasaki’s doctoral work focused on literary analysis of the narrative material in the Bible. He discovered that previous research into point-of-view crafting in biblical narrative material had failed to address the crucial issue of how point-of-view crafting can make a difference in the way that biblical narrative passages are exegeted. Through his work on this issue he has developed a new critical methodology—Perspective Criticism—which sets forth the various components of literary point of view, and determines how the functioning of these components impacts the way we are to understand biblical narrative texts. His most major finding to date is that a biblical storyteller’s adopting of a particular character’s point of view can prompt readers to respond with empathy, even if the character has been otherwise characterized as a villain. (Please see below for a list of selected publications and presentations.)
Dr. Yamasaki is also producing a video series representing an innovation in the delivery of course material for the online teaching of a standard first-year Biblical Greek course. This series is unique in that each video presents animated graphics to display visually what the voice-over lecture is explaining orally, constituting much more sophisticated visuals than can be produced on a white board. The series may also be used in a “flipped-classroom” setting.
- Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary (Richmond, VA)
- M.Div., Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, IN)
- Certificate of Christian Studies, Regent College (Vancouver, BC)
"Perspective Criticism: An Emerging Methodology for Analyzing Biblical Narrative," Dialogismos
1 (2017), pp. 34-55.
Reading the Bible in the Twenty-First Century: Insights from Filmmaking for Analyzing Biblical
Narrative (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016)
Perspective Criticism: Point of View and Evaluative Guidance in Biblical (Eugene: Cascade Books,
“An Experiment in Enhancing Student Engagement in a Course on the Book of Acts,” Conrad
Grebel Review 28 (spring 2010), pp. 34-44.
Watching a Biblical Narrative: Point of View in Biblical Exegesis (New York, NY: T. & T. Clark
International, 2007) - Finalist for T. & T. Clark’s Trinity Prize Book Manuscript Award
“Point of View in a Gospel Story: What Difference Does It Make? Luke 19:1-10 as a Test Case,”
Journal of Biblical Literature 125 (2006), pp. 89-105.
“Jesus and the End of Life in the Synoptic Gospels,” Vision 5 (2004), pp. 40-47.
“Broken Parallelism in Matthew’s Parable of the Two Builders (7:24-27),” Direction 33 (2004),
“Shalom for Shepherds: The Message of Luke 2:8-14.” Chapter in Beautiful Upon the Mount
-ains: Biblical Essays on Mission, Peace and God’s Reign, edited by Ivan Friesen and Mary H.
Schertz (Scottdale: Herald Press, 2003).
John the Baptist in Life and Death: Audience-Oriented Criticism of Matthew’s Narrative
(Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998).
“Perspective Criticism and the Deciphering of Point-of-View Crafting in Biblical Narrative.” Panel
at Thomas H. Albricht Christian Scholars’ Conference (June 2019)
"The Sermon on the Mount as Resistance Literature." Panel at the Society of Biblical Literature
“An Inside Look at ‘Inside Views’ as a Perspective-Critical Matter.” Presented at the Congress of
the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (May, 2014).
“A Perspective-Critical Analysis of the “We-Passages” of Acts.” Presented at the Congress of
the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (May, 2013).
"Mary at the Tomb from the Point of View of 'Point of View': A Perspective-Critical Look at 'The
Miracle Maker' and 'The Gospel of John.'" Presented at the Society of Biblical Literature
National Convention (November, 2012)
“Using Clips Illustrating Moviemaking Technique to Teach Storytelling Technique in Biblical
Narratives: Perspective Criticism as a Case Study.” Presented at the Society of Biblical
Literature National Convention (November, 2011).
“’N Sync or Outta Sync? Perspective Criticism and a Biblical Storyteller’s Control of the
Information Flow to the Reader.” Presented at the Congress of the Canadian Society of
Biblical Studies (May, 2011).
“Empathizing With a Villain: A Perspective-Critical Analysis of Saul’s Damascus Road Experience
(Acts 9:1-9).” Presented at the Congress of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (May,
“To Fleece or Not to Fleece? Perspective Criticism Provides an Answer.” Presented at the
Pacific Northwest Convention of the Society of Biblical Literature (May, 2010).
“Perspective Criticism: Unlocking the Point of ‘Point of View.’” Presented at the Congress of the
Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (June, 2008).
“‘Acts: The Game’: An Experiment in Student Engagement.” Presented at the Society of Biblical
Literature National Convention (November, 2004).
“Point of View in a Biblical Story. . .What Difference Does It Make? Luke 19:1-10 as a Case
Study.” Presented at the Pacific Northwest Regional Convention of the Society of Biblical
Literature (April, 2003).
“Point of View in the Exegesis of Biblical Narratives.” Presented at the Pacific Northwest
Regional Convention of the Society of Biblical Literature (May, 2002).
Research Methodologies, Curriculum Development, Literary Criticism, Biblical Anthropology, Hermeneutics, New Testament and Greek Studies.