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Finding data in unexpected places (or: From text linguistics to socio-rhetoric). Towards a socio-rhetorical reading of John's Gospel

Gerhard van den Heever
Neotestamentica
Vol. 33, No. 2 (1999), pp. 343-364
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43070283
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Finding data in unexpected places (or: From text linguistics to socio-rhetoric). Towards a socio-rhetorical reading of John's Gospel
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Abstract

Vernon Robbins in his Tapestry of early Christian discourse and in Exploring the texture of texts has argued that socio-rhetorical analysis is an interpretation of the interplay between various arenas of texture. Such an analysis makes use of data from various fields: linguistic (inner texture), literary comparative (intertexture), social and historical (social and cultural texture) and the ideology of the text (ideological texture). As a general statement of the method this is adequate, but it has to be recognised that 'data' is not a static entity with an objective existence. The reader's understanding of the interplay of the various textures and the reader's imaginative construction of the text's rhetorical situation can radically alter the way the 'data' for such a sociorhetorical analysis is conceptualised, and dramatically changes the inferences made from the text. This is illustrated with reference to the Gospel of John. The language of the imperial cult pervades the text and its projection of the image of Jesus, once one re-imagines the connections of the various textures as well as the networks of significations surrounding the text.

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