Reading John’s gospel within its socio-political context : a rhetorical analysis of John 8:12-59

Qina, Axolile Ntsika Mandaba (2019-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: John 8:44 is a verse that has often justified Christians’ traditionally negative attitude towards Judaism, by indicating that the Judeans’ father is the devil, hence supporting the historical labelling of Jews as “children of Satan”. This kind of embarrassment regarding the reception history of a text happens when we limit our interpretation to its linguistic context only, instead of accounting for the historical, ideological, and sociological dimensions of the text as well. Texts are usually written in response to changing social circumstances. It is important, then, to realise that when we approach the Bible in general, and the New Testament in particular, we are not reading about people or characters who have fixed, homogeneous, and hypostatised religious identities, but about groups who are developing and formulating their identity within a diverse and changing social milieu. Therefore, reading John 8:12-59 within its socio-political context, aims at exploring the identity of the characters involved by understanding the text within the socio-historical world from which it originated. A rhetorical analysis of John 8:12-59 within its socio-political context attempts, therefore, to solve the interpretation problem referred to above by accounting for the historical, ideological, and sociological contexts of its time.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Johannes 8:44 is ’n vers waarmee Christene se tradisioneel negatiewe houding jeens Judaïsme dikwels geregverdig word – deur die siening dat die vader van die Jode die duiwel is, wat Jode by implikasie as “kinders van Satan” tipeer. Dié soort verleentheid met betrekking tot die verstaansgeskiedenis van die teks ontstaan wanneer die interpretasie van sodanige tekste slegs tot hulle linguistiese konteks beperk word, en historiese, ideologiese en sosiologiese kontekste geïgnoreer word. Tekste word gewoonlik geskryf as reaksie en in antwoord op veranderende sosiale omstandighede. Gevolglik is dit belangrik dat ons benadering tot die verstaan van die Bybel in die algemeen, en die Nuwe Testament in besonder, moet wees dat ons nie alleen met mense of karakters se vaste godsdienstige identiteit te make het nie, maar met groepe wat ontwikkel en hulle identiteit teen die agtergrond van ’n diverse en veranderende sosiale milieu formuleer. Om Johannes 8:12-59 in sosio-politieke konteks te lees het daarom ten doel om die identiteit van die betrokke karakters binne die sosio-historiese wêreld waarin die teks ontstaan het, te verstaan. ’n Retoriese analise van Johannes 8:12-59 in sosio-politieke konteks poog dus om die interpretasieprobleem waarna hierbo verwys word, op te los – met inagneming van die historiese, ideologiese, en sosiologiese kontekste waarbinne die teks geskryf is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107088
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