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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758

Acta theol. vol.35  suppl.21 Bloemfontein  2015


Introducition - Chapter 1


Ito Hisa



Since the enigmatic nature of John's Gospel has attracted a great deal of attention from many scholars, numerous studies of this Gospel have been produced. Each endeavour to understand the Gospel demonstrates its own uniqueness, and utilises one of various methodological approaches to suit its particular research purpose. Methodologically, however, modern critical research on this Gospel can be roughly divided into two categories, namely historical approaches and literary approaches, which some scholars further divide into ideological (theological) approaches. One should bear in mind that these categories are merely a simple and provisional depiction of the complex research done on the Gospel. It is thus difficult to classify all works neatly into one of these categories.1 Since comprehensive bibliographies concerning Johannine research are available to us,2 in this section I wish to concentrate more on particular research on John 9.

Recent research on John 9 indicates the same trend. Therefore, studies of John 9 have been conducted either from a historical perspective or from a literary viewpoint. However, literary studies appear to be recently gaining a stronger foothold over historical studies (Stibbe 1993:10). This point will be illustrated in the following paragraphs, starting with historical research.3

One of the most important monographs in Johannine scholarship and in studies of John 9 is certainly Martyn's book ([1968] 1979), History and theology in the Fourth Gospel.4In part one of his book, Martyn particularly examines the story of the blind man to form his central thesis that the struggle of the Johannine community with the synagogue shaped this Gospel.5 Regarding this thesis, a number of studies refer to John 9.6 In this regard, however, very few works construe the text of John 9 itself (e.g., Smith 1986; Rensberger 1988; Menken 2001). Fortna (1970) examines the text of John 9 in relation to the 'signs source' (e.g., Bultmann 1971), and Nicol (1972) investigates the ot^eTa traditions and their Johannine redaction, referring to John 9. Concerning the law in the Fourth Gospel (Loader 2002, 2005), Pancaro (1975:1) attempts "to determine the meaning and function given to the Law by Jn and the precise role it plays in the theological structure of his Gospel". In addition, John 9 is construed in relation to Jesus' Sabbath violation and the charge of his false teaching (Lincoln 2000). In his massive monograph, which explores the history, literature and theology of the Johannine community, Painter ([1991] 1993) analyses John 9 in relation to the Light of the world (and the enigmatic Son of Man) to elucidate the quest for the Messiah. In terms of short essays, Porter (1966) argues that John 9:38-39a could be a liturgical addition to the text. In Lieu's (1988) essay, the history of the Johannine community is traced through the theme of blindness. In the process, John 9 is touched upon, because this story is one of only two places in the Gospel in which the term blindness is explicitly stated.7

In contrast to historical studies, an increasing amount of research on John 9 in recent years constitutes literary-oriented studies. The majority of these works fundamentally follow Culpepper's (1983) literary and narrative approach to John's Gospel described in his book, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A study in literary design. This is still the fundamental textbook for such studies (cf. Thatcher & Moore 2008). According to his aim "to contribute to understanding the gospel as a narrative text, what it is, and how it works", Culpepper (1983:5) investigates the Gospel, including John 9, in terms of the narrative aspects: narrator, narrative time, plot, characters, implicit commentary, and the implied reader. A few critics make the story of the blind man the main object of their endeavours and attempt to analyse it as a unified narrative. It appears that Resseguie (1982) is one of the first scholars to have done such a literary-critical analysis of John 9. His aim is to demonstrate how the form and content of John 9 are closely interwoven to form a superb literary unity. Basically following Resseguie, Dockery (1988) carries out a narrative discourse study of John 9. Painter (1989) construes John 9 as one of the so-called rejection stories. Holleran's (1993a, 1993b) set of two articles is still the most extensive treatment of John 9 from a narratological perspective. He deals with the background and presuppositions for a narrative analysis of the text in the first article, and presents an insightful detailed narrative reading in the second one. Du Rand (1991), on the other hand, represents those scholars who regard John 9 and 10 as a literary unit by scrutinising a syntactical and narrative coherence between these two chapters. In works that treat John 9 as part of their analysis, Dodd ([1953] 1968), after reconstructing the background and examining the leading concepts of the Gospel, elucidates its argument and literary structure (cf. O'Day's 1995:509 comment on Dodd). O'Day (1987) explains four Johannine texts from a literary and narrative perspective, as an aid for preaching, in which John 9 is also analysed.

In terms of characterisation as one of the narrative aspects, Bishop (1982) explores some characters' encounter with Jesus in the New Testament, and analyses the blind man as an example. Staley (1991) examines two Johannine miracle stories in John 5 and 9 from the perspective of ancient Hebrew modes of characterisation, and demonstrates how this characterisation enriches our reading of Johannine characters. Furthermore, the title the Son of Man can be investigated as a characterisation of Jesus. Moloney (1978) explores the use and meaning of the Johannine Son of Man in the relevant texts, and thus examines John 9 in this regard.8 The 'I am' sayings can also be examined in the same way. However, since John 9:5 (cf. v. 9) does not represent the pure formula of these sayings, the text of John 9 is usually not scrutinised (cf. section 3.1.4 in Chapter 4). An exception is Coetzee's (1986) essay concerning the text in relation to John 8. In addition, the following scholars contributed to the current development of research done on Johannine characterisation, and some of them analysed the blind man in the process: Conway (1999, 2002), Beirne (2003), Howard (2006), Bennema (2009) and Skinner (2013). In addition, many critics attempt to research the identity and function of the Jews in the Gospel (cf. the section on 'CS' in 9:18). Some of them examine the Jews referred to in John 9 in a separate section in the process.9 Perhaps, as a culmination of such character studies in John, a recent publication is worth noting: Character studies in the Fourth Gospel: Narrative approaches to seventy figures in John (Hunt et al. 2013).

In terms of implicit commentary, several scholars emphasise the symbolic value of John 9. In his shorter essay, Painter (1986) starts with a discussion with Haenchen about a source-critical issue in John 9, and proceeds to a theological analysis of the text, referring to the relations between the Johannine community and the synagogue. More importantly, however, his essay deals mostly with his symbolic interpretation of John 9, with reference to Johannine symbols (cf. his other essay on Johannine symbols, Painter 1979). Grigsby (1985) explores the symbolism of Siloam in relation to John's 'living water' motif. Some recent monographs draw from the text of John 9 as part of their research. Koester (1995) deals with Johannine symbolism in the entire Gospel, such as light and darkness, and seeks to reveal its meaning and mystery (cf. Dodd [1953] 1968; section 5 in Chapter 3). Koester's (2006:415-416, 419-420) article again refers to John 9, though not in detail, and describes the dynamics of darkness. Jones (1997) and Ng (2001) attempt to investigate the use and meaning of the symbol of water in the Gospel (cf. section 5.2 in Chapter 3). Coloe (2001) analyses the temple symbolism in the Gospel. On the other hand, Lee (1994:161) deals not with individual symbols but with the entire story of John 9 as the best example of symbolic narrative. She also examines five other symbolic narratives in the Gospel, in which there is a remarkable level of coherence between form and meaning based on the Evangelist's theology. Her basic insight regarding the story of John 9, however, has already been pointed out by Riga (1984:168) who contends that this story "is a symbolic narration of the journey of faith to Christ as the light of the world".

Similar (but not identical) to symbols, the Johannine miracles as signs can also be perceived as implicit commentary.10 In his very short essay, Mackintosh (1925) compares the miracle stories of John 5 and 9, referring to their synoptic parallels. Wilkinson (1967) and Carroll (1995) analyse Jesus' miracle performed on the blind man from a healing perspective (cf. section 3.1.2 in Chapter 4). Salier (2004) analyses the semeia in the Gospel, also referring to John 9.

Still with reference to implicit commentary, Duke studies irony in the Gospel as a literary device that serves as a form of appeal and as a weapon. Duke (1982:243) contends that we cannot grasp the Gospel without a proper understanding of Johannine irony. He considers John 9 to be one of the two great episodes in which irony is skilfully employed, and thus analyses this story from this perspective (cf. section 1.6 in Chapter 2). Others also address irony in John 9, but the scale is limited.11

In addition to the above bodies of work, there are other studies of John 9 that fall outside these two categories.12

Many commentaries on John's Gospel have also been produced. Although it is difficult to allocate all the commentaries to the two categories, as in the case of the monographs and short essays, I shall attempt to classify them in a footnote for the sake of reference.13

The above brief survey of past studies of John 9 is by no means exhaustive, but sufficient since the main purpose, in this instance, is to give an indication of the trends and approaches that have thus far been followed in the study of John 9.



Some significant points emerge from the survey in the previous section. Firstly, there does not seem to be any monograph-length research on John 9, with the exception of Wright (2009) who offers a figural reading of John 9.14 This present state indicates that there is a paucity of detailed studies on John 9. Secondly, as Painter ([1991] 1993:305) states, "[i]n recent studies Jn 9 has been used as a crux for the interpretation of the Gospel". Martyn's work and the related studies of his thesis evidently exhibit this fact. Therefore, John 9 is usually used as important evidence or as a point of departure for these discussions. As pointed out earlier, this implies that only a few researchers have attempted to study the passage itself, from a historical point of view, since the publication of Martyn's book. Thirdly, although a few works (including commentaries) analyse John 9 from a narratological perspective, there is hardly any linguistic and pragmatic research on the subject. Poirier's (1996) work focuses on only one passage. Du Rand (1991) examines John 9 from the viewpoint of general linguistics and literary science, but his main focus is to explore the coherence between John 9 and 10. Half of his essay also conducts a narratological reading. Fourthly, although Johannine irony began to receive scholarly attention since the works of Duke (1982) and Culpepper (1983), irony in John 9, which is often said to be rich in irony, has not yet been fully exposed.15 Other scholars have also researched Johannine irony, but do not address irony in John 9 at all (e.g., MacRae 1973; O'Day 1986a, 1986b; Moore 1989). In a sense, this situation is ironic. Fifthly, Painter ([1991] 1993:5) is of the opinion that "Martyn has demonstrated the dramatic development of scenes in the telling of the story of the healing of the lame man ... and of the blind man. More work needs to be done in this area". The above points can be rephrased as follows:

a. It appears that there is no monograph-length study of John 9.

b. It appears that historical studies of John 9, relating to the issues of the Johannine community, have come to an end or are currently exhausted.16

c. John 9 has not yet been examined from a linguistic perspective, particularly a pragmatic one. The appreciation of John 9 as dramatic literature will perhaps improve if it is also analysed from this angle.

d. An analysis of irony in John 9 is especially overdue.

Therefore, the time appears to be ripe for an analysis of John 9 from a pragmatic viewpoint in a detailed study.17 In this sense, this study can be categorised within a group of studies based on literary approaches. Accordingly, this study is based on the premise that the Fourth Gospel in its entirety (and all its parts) should be perceived as a literary whole. However, I further wish to place this present study within a body of research that has emerged in recent years. This body of work can be distinguished from the two dominant types of studies (those operating from within either historical or literary approaches) and is unique in the following sense: despite the rivalry between historical and literary approaches, some scholars attempt to establish a harmonious relationship between the two approaches, based on the conviction that New Testament scholarship needs to employ both approaches for a comprehensive understanding of the ancient biblical texts. This attempt increasingly gained scholars' attention at the time my dissertation was submitted in 2000, and it has, as Klink (2007:36) mentions, continued to develop: "Over the last decade several studies in the FG have integrated literary and historical methods to the text of John". Culpepper (2008:40) also states: "One of the interesting refrains of the essays ... is the call for dialogue between historical and narrative criticism and for a reconsideration of questions of historicity, composition history, and the Johannine community." According to Stibbe (2008:165), "[o]ne of the tasks for the future is to integrate the diachronic or historical methods of interpretation with more synchronic methods (such as narrative criticism)".18 Among those scholars who are concerned with this attempt in their studies of the Fourth Gospel,19the following are representative examples of supporters of a speech act approach: Combrink (1988:195), Saayman (1994, 1995), Motyer (1997a:27-28), and Tovey (1997:23). My present study also seeks to join in this attempt, perhaps not as strongly, but in a more moderate fashion.20

In order to discuss the purpose and delineation of this study, I wish to answer an important question first: What kind of literary methodology should be employed? In other words, which method is suitable to meet the need described above in relation to research on John 9, and which method will appear to contribute the most to Johannine scholarship in this regard? As mentioned earlier, current New Testament scholarship focuses more on text-immanent approaches than on historical approaches, which once prevailed in this scholarship. In this trend, which began in the 1970s, new literary approaches gradually gained the attention of many scholars. Speech act theory also emerged as a useful exegetical approach, which originated in secular scholarship and developed mainly under the auspices of disciplines such as the philosophy of language, linguistics and pragmatics. A few studies have, in fact, applied this theory in practice, analysing specific biblical texts more comprehensively (cf. Botha 2007:291). This is also true as far as Johannine scholarship is concerned. Accordingly, there is thus far a paucity of work on the Gospel of John. As a matter of fact, I am at this point only aware of the works of Botha (1991a) and Tovey (1997), except for limited and short analyses such as the studies by Wendland (1985), Saayman (1994, 1995) and Tolmie (1995).21Much remains to be done in this respect.

The purpose of this study is, therefore, to analyse, in detail, the text of John 9 from a speech act perspective, with the emphasis on how language functions in order to determine whether or not such an analysis leads to acceptable and valid results as an interpretation of the text.22 However, I would expect that this study could possibly yield a new understanding of the way in which gospel narratives such as John 9 are carefully constructed by the implied author for the implied reader. The reason for this expectation is twofold.

Firstly, my 'new and different perspective' will give a new understanding of how the communication takes place in the text from a linguistic perspective, and this understanding is new for John 9, because this text has not been analysed as such previously.23 It is my vague misgiving, however, that this kind of new approach will probably not be satisfactorily appreciated when evaluated from the traditional perspective. If my readers seek 'new' results in the same way in which the traditional approaches have offered so far, they will likely be disappointed. Perhaps a new approach should be evaluated according to a new criterion. Furthermore, speaking of newness, my speech act approach can be considered comparatively new in the sense that it takes historical contexts into account, thus differing from the so-called traditional text-immanent approaches.

The second reason can be drawn from the fact that the speech act works cited earlier proved, in my opinion, that the application of speech act theory to biblical texts has successfully contributed to a better understanding of the texts studied. For instance, the majority of the reviewers of Botha's work, in which he applied this theory to the text of the Samaritan woman in John 4, with special reference to Johannine style, favour his method as innovative and appreciate the way in which he analysed the communication between the implied author and the implied reader. Nobody rejects the study as invalid, despite the fact that some reviewers commented that Botha left some important points untouched (e.g., Rosenblatt 1993:569-570). Another example: Saayman demonstrated the competency and strength of this theory in analysing the controversial text of John 3 as a macrospeech act, discussing crucial points with the major scholars of other approaches. He suggested an alternative reading of the text based on this new perspective. Lastly, Du Plessis (1991:136) remarks on the great potential of this theory in Text and interpretation: New approaches in the criticism of the New Testament: "The real future of speech act theory in New Testament research ... lie[s] ... in the support the theory gives to the exegesis of individual texts. Especially in the fields of Johannine studies and the Sermon on the Mount a rich harvest may be reaped."




This study is organised as follows. Chapter 1 offers an introduction to the study. Chapter 2 deals with the theoretical aspects and attempts to establish the methodological framework. In other words, I shall introduce, first, the major concepts of speech act theory briefly, with a view as to how these concepts can be utilised in a practical analysis. Secondly, I shall describe the ways in which other approaches can be incorporated in this speech act approach. Since speech act theory mainly deals with direct speech acts, some theoretical basis for applying this theory to a narrative text will necessarily be offered. Thirdly, I shall examine the advantages and disadvantages of a speech act analysis in order to seek a more plausible way in which to employ this approach. Moreover, I shall briefly survey speech act studies in New Testament scholarship for the purpose of comparison with this study; suggest possible contributions this study could make to Biblical scholarship, and specify the basic reading scheme of this study to scrutinise the text of John 9.

The following chapters will constitute a practical application of the approach, namely a speech act analysis of John 9. In Chapter 3, a contextual survey will be conducted in order to examine John 9 as a whole in terms of the key notions of the approach such as 'Appropriate Conditions', 'the Cooperative Principle', 'Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics', 'Linguistic Assumptions', 'Mutual Contextual Beliefs', and so forth. Chapter 4 will attempt to provide a detailed speech act reading of John 9, and thus constitute the heart of this study. Chapter 5 will conclude the study with my summaries of such a reading.

Before closing this first chapter, I wish to draw my readers' attention to a number of considerations pertaining to the study, namely my terminology, reference system, and technical glosses.

3.1 Considerations

a. Kysar (1984:12) points out: "The question of the historical Jesus within the narratives and discourses of the Fourth Gospel is fraught with monstrous difficulties". The analysis contained in this study makes no pretence of differentiating between the accurate records of Jesus' life and words and the attribution of them to Jesus by the early church. Instead, this study simply acknowledges Jesus' actions and words as reported in the Gospel.

b. The whole of John 9 as the unit of analysis will be based on the Nestle-Aland 27th edition of the Greek New Testament. This indicates that text-critical and source-critical factors are fundamentally exempt from this research.

3.2 Terminology

a. The main character in John 9 is the blind man. He is no longer blind after Jesus healed him. For the sake of convenience, however, he is referred to as the blind man even after he recovered his sight.

b. In this study, the terms the real author and the real reader will refer to the flesh-and-blood author(s) and the flesh-and-blood reader(s) respectively. The simpler forms the author and the reader will always refer to the implied author and the implied reader respectively (for the definitions of these terms, c.f. section 2.2.1 in Chapter 2).

3.3 Reference system

a. Basically, I shall use the Harvard reference system with some modification. As a rule, this system completely excludes footnotes, but I shall use them when necessary in order not to interrupt the flow of my argument in the running text, especially whenever such an explanation, in principle, exceeds more than a line.

b. My insertions in quotations shall be indicated as follows: "... [analysis]

c. My usage of italics in quotations shall be indicated as follows: "... analysis [italics mine] .". In addition, italicised words and phrases from original sources are maintained.

d. When a section number is mentioned in parenthesis and/or footnote, the number will refer to a section in the same chapter, unless otherwise specified. For example, the phrase 'cf. section 3' refers to section 3 in the same chapter in which the phrase appears, whereas the phrase 'cf. section 3 in Chapter 5' refers to section 3 in a different chapter, in this case, Chapter 5.

e. In the Bibliography section, the list is recorded according to Acta Theologica style.

3.4 Technical glosses and abbreviations

a. In terms of English, British spelling is chiefly followed. In '-ise/-ize' spelling, preference is given to the '-ise' spelling.

b. All biblical quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible,

unless specified. For instance, the New Revised Standard Version is used in the section on 'Light and darkness' (section 5.1 in Chapter 3). Biblical verses or phrases in italics indicate my own translations.

c. The following abbreviations will be used in parentheses and footnotes:

cf. see

v. verse

vv. verses

CS Communicative strategy

GA General analysis

IA Illocutionary act

MCB Mutual contextual belief

PA Prelocutionary act

The analytical outline The analytical outline for ironic speech acts

KJV King James Version

NASB New American Standard Bible

NIV New International Version

NRSV New Revised Standard Version

RSV Revised Standard Version

TEV Today's English Version



1 For a view which considers these two methods mutually exclusive, cf. comments by Frye 1957:315; Ryken 1974:27, 39; Gros Louis 1982:13, 20; Kingsbury 1986:1; Powell 1990:96; De Boer 1992:38; Stibbe (ed.) 1993:1. Since the 1990s, another trend that views these two methods as complementary emerged. For more discussions on this, cf. section 2 in this chapter and section 3.4 in Chapter 2.
2 Carson 1983, 1989; Kysar 1985; Smalley 1986; Van Belle 1988; Porter & Gabriel 2013.
3 I wish to point out that the absence of references to works written in languages other than English is not due to negligence, but due to the language problem.
4 The third edition was published in 2003, and is the latest version.
5 For a more detailed discussion on this thesis, cf. section 6.1.2 and the section on 'CS' in 9:22 in Chapter 4.
6 E.g., Barrett 1975; Kimelman 1981; Meeks 1985; Freyne 1985; Joubert 1993; Van der Horst 1994; Wenham 1997; De Boer 2001; Olsson 2005; Klink 2007.
7 Hartsock (2008) analyses the story of John 9 in relation to blindness in the ancient world.
8 Cf. also Smalley 1969; Pamment 1985; Burkett 1991; Müller 1991; section 8.1.1 in Chapter 4.
9 E.g., Bratcher 1975; De Boer 2001; De Jonge 2001; Resseguie 2001; Brant 2004; Tolmie 2005; Hylen 2009.
10 However, the works followed do not necessarily construe John 9 from this viewpoint.
11 E.g., Culpepper 1983:175-176; Kotze 1985:60; Myers 1988:8-9; Botha 1991d:212, 214; Thatcher 1999:74-76; Steyn 2008.
12 Poirier (1996) analyses the punctuation in John 9:3 from a linguistic perspective to yield a more cogent reading of the narrative. Menken's (1985) thesis is unique in that he argues that John makes use of numbers of syllables and words for the composition of his Gospel. John 9 is selected as one of five passages to prove this thesis. Brodie (1981) compares the stories of John 9 and 2 Kings 5 as a successive work in following Bostock's (1980) basic insight, and concludes that the similarity of Jesus to Elisha reflects a conscious reworking of the story of Naaman on the part of John. Derrett (1997:254) proposes that the anointing of clay on the blind man's eyes in John 9:6 "is to be explained in the light of Isaiah 6:10 and 20:9". Cho (2006:187-202) employs a relatively longer elucidation of John 9 as an example to make his thesis of Jesus as prophet.
13 The following commentaries emphasise historical aspects: Westcott [1882] 1978; Godet 1893; Strachan 1941; Howard & Gossip 1952; Hoskyns 1947; Barrett 1955; Wiles 1960; Brown 1966; Odeberg 1968; Schnackenburg [1968] 1980; Morris 1971; MacRae 1978; Minear 1984; Haenchen 1984; Beasley-Murray 1987; Bruce [1983] 1994; Carson 1991; Witherington 1995; Keener 2003; Köstenberger 2004; Michaels 2010, and so forth. Commentaries with a specific emphasis on source-critical issues are those of Bultmann (1971) and Temple (1975). Lindars ([1972] 1981) writes a form-critical commentary. The following are literary-oriented commentaries: Olsson 1974; Ellis 1984; Kysar 1984; Countryman 1987; Grayston 1990; Servotte 1992; Stibbe 1993; Brodie 1993; Howard-Brook 1994; O'Day 1995; Culpepper 1998; Brant 2011, and so forth. The following commentaries use integrative methods: Lincoln 2005; Neyrey 2007, and so forth.
14 The purpose and method of his work are clearly different from those of mine.
15 It seems that I am the only one thus far who has analysed Johannine irony thoroughly in John 9. Cf. the two articles by Ito 2000b and 2000c in association with this present study.
16 For a more detailed discussion about this, cf. the section on 'CS' in 9:22; cf. also Brodie 1993:6.
17 This was still the case in 2013 when I was preparing this book.
18 This kind of view is further supported by Cho 2006:65-66; Conway 2008:91; Reinhartz 2008:57; as well as in some other articles in Thatcher & Moore (2008) and Bennema 2009:20.
19 E.g., Painter [1991] 1993:5; Du Rand 1991:96; De Boer 1992; Stibbe 1992:1-2, 1993a:18-19; Davies 1992:7; Lee 1994:184; Ball 1996:18; Orchard 1998; Hakola 2005; Lincoln 2005; Cho 2006; Neyrey 2007; Bennema 2009, and so forth. Cf. Smith's 1986 work which is already concerned with both historical and literary aspects. Regarding similar attempts other than those concerned with the Fourth Gospel, cf., e.g., Robbins 1995, 1996; Du Plessis 1996.
20 My attempt is 'moderate', because my speech act approach does not reject historical research. Rather, it respects and uses the results of such research. Furthermore, this approach does not seek to establish a combined method. Rather, I intend to make a small contribution to this new endeavour by specifically using speech act theory, which stresses the importance and role of context in understanding the meaning of a text. The context in this theory can be explored not only at the level of co-text (the literary context), but also at the level of historical context. It has the obvious advantage of attempting to minimise the gap between two approaches. Briefly, this is my contribution to Johannine scholarship. For more discussions on this, cf. section 3.4 in Chapter 2.
21 For a brief review of these works, cf. section 3.3 in Chapter 2.
22 Although it is desirable that John's Gospel in its entirety should be examined through the lens of speech act theory, it is not feasible to do so in a monograph by following my particular approach. Chapter 9 has, therefore, been chosen for the following reasons: 1) the suffering theme described in John 9 (especially vv. 1-7) initially caught my attention because of a personal interest in this area. 2) The structure and content of John 9 is organised beautifully in the dialogue scenes. This means that speech act theory as an approach to human communication could be best utilised in this episode. 3) The historical situation behind John 9 (especially v. 22) appears to be a challenge to this comprehensive approach. 4) Tovey (1997) has already analysed the entire Gospel from a similar speech act perspective. 5) Speech act theory is successful not only on the level of macro-level analysis, but also on the level of micro-level analysis, where the dynamics of human communication are best portrayed. It is my contention that a speech act approach should also be suitable for such a detailed analysis. (For more detailed discussions about points 4 and 5, cf. section 3.3 in Chapter 2.)
23 As pointed out earlier, the theory I employ in this study is speech act theory in the context of modern literary theory. It was developed by Austin and Searle in the philosophy of language and it has been used to study the function and use of language in speech situations. The theory indicates that speaking an utterance can also be viewed as performing an action of human behaviour. As applied to this study, the theory should be used to analyse mainly the conversations and speeches in the biblical texts from a new and different perspective, differing from the traditional approaches such as historical criticism.

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