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Discourse and Story in 4G

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    In response Joseph Calandrino s question How do the constructs of story and discourse work in FG, and do their interplay move the matters of history,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 18, 2011
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      In response Joseph Calandrino's question "How do the constructs of "story" and "discourse" work in FG, and do their interplay move the matters of 'history,' 'historicity,' etc., forward?", let me offer some initial thoughts and then seek some clarification.

      In the first instance, I would suggest that GJohn as a whole has a carefully constructed "story." The plot is important, progressive, and in general consistent enough that a single author can be seen in its composition. And the discourses are critical to the advancement of the story as it progresses. I say it this way because in an earlier generation (Bultmann), the idea of a variety of sources, of the which the revelatory discourse source was one, would suggest a "patched together" gospel. I don't see that.

      To push it a bit farther, the central theme in John seems to be over the Jesus' disputed "authority" or his agency. Is he indeed able to speak for the Father? And the plot of the gospel begins in acceptance, and then begins to develop different reactions to his teaching and his actions: rejection by "the Jews" (or at least significant component of them), and acceptance by certain individuals (and sometimes groups). The rejection grows over time, and finally reaches a peak in the passion narrative.

      In all of this "plot development" the discourses actually are central to the way the plot develops in the narrative. So one part of my answer is to affirm that "discourse" and "story" work together in the overall narrative of 4G.

      My questions come in the terms of the last part of the posting: "history" and "historicity". As a fan of Hayden White, I am always sensitive to those who want to differentiate between "story" and "history." History is always a story of events told from a particular point of view... it is always interpretation of the events. So in this respect I see no difficulty.

      But perhaps you are talking about the "accuracy" of specific events/sayings, or the "accuracy" of the whole story? That is part of history, but not the whole of it. So my questions are really whether we want to open up the larger question of what history is, and how the story relates to history????



      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College
      423-461-8720
      http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
      > Hello to all:
      >
      > This forum has been fairly quiet lately, no doubt for the trials and
      > tribulations of the academic year, etc.
      >
      > However, Tom Thatcher has recently and generously facilitated an
      > interesting colloquium on the biblical-studies group, and that colloquium
      > is about to end.
      >
      > Is there any interest here, given that other members are active in the
      > Jesus, John and History project, in continuing to move the business of
      > John into new horizons?
      >
      > If so, then let me pose some new business with a general question to this
      > group:
      >
      >
      > Cordially, and with warmest regards,
      > Joe
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
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