[John_Lit] Mighty Works in NT
A very intriguing hypothesis, in my view. You mention:
<<Question: I am looking for discussion concerning Semeia source (SQ). Is
it the most viable explanation for the background of the Johannine
narrative of J's mighty works? (See Faure 1922, 99-121 or Bultmann
While I would not necessarily personally endorse this view, this is indeed
the view of Fortna and others who adopt the SG theory. In Fortna's
reconstruction, which is generally accepted by the JSeminar and others, the
works of Jesus in the early stages of the SG (even the pre-SG Signs Source)
were aimed at a Jewish audience with a view to using works of power to
demonstrate his fulfillment of Jewish messianic expectations. Of course,
this raises the broader issue of whether works of power were part of such an
expectation. But Fortna and others would consider that Jesus' works would
convince Jews of his messiahship, of course with a view to a much lower and
more general Christology than that espoused in the current version of FG.
From this perspective, the speeches reflect the later beliefs of the
community, and it is in the speeches that we see the works of Jesus becoming
something more than general signs of messianism.
But you have asked whether we believe this is "the most viable explanation"
for the source of these accounts. Personally, I lean much more toward an
oral Johannine tradition which was not put into writing until quite late,
and which was in some ways intertwined with other strains of tradition. I
also believe that this tradition claimed to have a Palestinian origin. This
being the case, perhaps the Johannine references to Bethsaida reflect the
same type of local coloring about that area that you mention. In other
words, it may be that the Johannine stories are patterned after a general
local coloring about that region which became an oral motif for Johannine
"The Truth Will Set You Free"