SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.35 suppl.21Introduction - Chapter 1Contextual survey of John 9 - Chapter 3 author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand

Article

Indicators

Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google

Share


Acta Theologica

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

Acta theol. vol.35  suppl.21 Bloemfontein  2015

 

Methodology - Chapter 2

 

Ito Hisa

 

To begin with, I shall briefly explain my own speech act approach. As Patte (1988:88) mentions, "speech act theory does not offer any clear method which could be directly applied to the study of the texts"; it is thus crucial to establish one's own methodological framework before applying this theory. Therefore, I have developed a methodological framework to work with this study.

Since speech act theory itself provides many different views on its main topics,1 I shall limit myself to utilising primarily Searle's speech act theory in conjunction with Bach and Harnish's taxonomy and mutual contextual beliefs (MCBs), Grice's principles of conversation, Leech's pragmatic approach (Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics), Pratt's display text and Van Dijk's macrospeech-act structures. Because I have adopted a mixture of theoretical viewpoints into my approach, it will be referred to as 'my' speech act approach or analysis to distinguish it from other similar approaches (and it will, of course, NOT be referred to as 'the' speech act approach). In addition, since John 9 is abundant in ironic expressions, I have developed an analytical outline for ironic speech acts to identify and describe irony from a speech act perspective and to apply it to our text.

In addition, I shall utilise some notions from colon analysis, reader-response criticism and narrative criticism,2including Chatman's (1978) narrative-communication model, in order to complement my speech act approach (cf. section 2).

Since the focus of this section is, as mentioned earlier, to set up my own methodological framework formulated from diverse aspects of speech act theory, I shall not attempt to provide a detailed presentation of the concepts, history and development of this theory, because the majority of the above theories are well documented.3 However, I shall note some important points and introduce new concepts that need more clarification for my readers. My own framework can be divided into two main categories, namely speech act theory and its related approaches (cf. section 1), and other approaches (cf. section 2).

 

1. SPEECH ACT THEORY AND RELATED APPROACHES

1.1 Speech act theory

In analysing an utterance, Austin ([1962] 1976:109) introduces three constituent elements, namely locutionary act - the act of saying something; illocutionary act - the act in saying something, and perlocutionary act -the act performed by saying something. Speech act analysis mainly deals with the last two acts. An illocutionary act is an utterance performed with illocutionary force such as asserting, arguing, advising, promising, and so forth. A perlocutionary act should be basically limited "to the intentional production of effects on (or in) the hearer. Our reason is that only reference to intended effects is necessary to explain the overall rationale of a given speech act" (Bach & Harnish 1979:17). In order to account for a successful performance of a speech act, Searle ([1969] 1980:57-61) sets out an explicit set of conditions, known as felicity conditions, introducing four such categories: propositional content condition, preparatory condition, sincerity condition, and essential condition.

1.1.1 Indirect speech act

In human communication through language, people use both direct and indirect communication. If a speaker makes an utterance to convey one meaning only, there is no indirect speech act involved. However, if the speaker intends to convey more than one meaning and implies more than what he says, he utters an indirect speech act. According to Searle ([1979] 1981:115), in an indirect speech act, a speaker "means what he says, but he means something more as well. Thus utterance meaning includes sentence meaning but extends beyond it". In this analysis, Searle ([1979] 1981:115, 143) indicates that an indirect speech act differs from metaphor and irony. However, a relatively recent approach concerning irony in speech act theory is to consider that "all ironic speech acts are indirect speech acts" (Botha 1991c:227; cf. also Amante 1981:80). This aspect will be clarified later in the section on 'The analytical outline for ironic speech acts' (cf. section 1.6).

As far as the mechanism of indirect speech acts is concerned, Searle ([1979] 1981:31) states that "one illocutionary act is performed indirectly by way of performing another". In other words, "the utterance has two illocutionary forces" (Searle [1979] 1981:31). However, Leech (1983:38-39) concludes that Searle's concept of a direct speech act underlying an indirect speech act is an unnecessary construct. His criticism of Searle indicates the existence of an intractable problem in the notion of indirect speech acts, even though Searle already provides the inferential strategy as a solution to the problem (cf. Searle [1979] 1981:32-35). Levinson (1983:278) echoes this, stating that the problem of indirect speech acts is a threat to the very existence of the speech act theory.4 Naturally, this problem will also influence my speech act analysis of John 9, especially the identification of the occurrence of indirect speech acts in the text. Therefore, I would like to mention a few precautions for dealing with indirect speech acts.

a. Even if an utterance has more than two illocutionary acts, it does not necessarily mean that it comprises an indirect speech act. This can be explained by Searle's ([1969] 1980:70) comment: "Both because there are several different dimensions of illocutionary force, and because the same utterance act may be performed with a variety of different intentions, it is important to realize that one and the same utterance may constitute the performance of several different illocutionary acts."

b. The context in which an utterance is spoken plays a prominent role in identifying an indirect speech act. The same utterance, which is an indirect speech act in a certain context, may not be an indirect speech act in a different context.

c. Levinson (1983:270) mentions an essential property of inference theories: "For an utterance to be an indirect speech act, there must be an inference-trigger, i.e. some indication that the literal meaning and/ or literal force is conversationally inadequate in the context and must be 'repaired' by some inference."

1.2 Taxonomy and mutual contextual beliefs

1.2.1 Taxonomy

As for the classification of illocutionary acts, there is no consensus among speech act theorists due to the lack of a unified categorising standard.5However, since one's classification of a given speech act is indicative of how s/he understands the meaning and use of an utterance, I consider it important to categorise it according to some or other taxonomy. I shall follow Bach and Harnish's taxonomy (1979:39-55), because their taxonomy is, in my opinion, the most comprehensive and the least confusing one.6They present six general categories of illocutionary acts and divide them into communicative illocutionary acts and conventional illocutionary acts (cf. the diagram of taxonomy in Appendix 1).

1.2.2 Mutual contextual beliefs

Bach and Harnish (1979) redefine, what we generally call, the shared knowledge between speaker and hearer as mutual contextual beliefs (MCBs). They help us understand and interpret an utterance, and give a clue as to the inference the hearer makes. Examples of MCBs are social, cultural, religious knowledge, knowledge of the specific speech situation or of relations between two parties, and so on. Bach and Harnish (1979:4-5) call such "information 'beliefs' rather than 'knowledge', because they need not be true in order to figure in the speaker's intention and the hearer's inference". Furthermore, they introduce three presumptions, which facilitate communication between the speaker and the hearer. These are basically mutual beliefs which "are shared not just between S [speaker] and H [hearer] but among members of the linguistic community at large' (1979:7). Bach and Harnish (1979:7-12) present the following three presumptions: linguistic presumption,7 Communicative presumption,8and Presumption of literalness.9

1.3 Principles of conversation

In this section, I shall simultaneously introduce Grice's principles of conversation and Leech's pragmatic approach (especially, Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics), because these are well-related concepts.

According to Leech (1983:15-17), a speaker has both the illocutionary force and certain social goals in making an utterance. Leech clarifies these social goals in terms of two types of rhetoric: Interpersonal Rhetoric and Textual Rhetoric. Under each category, he introduces various pragmatic principles and maxims in which he also includes Grice's Cooperative Principle (CP) and its four maxims (cf. the diagram of Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics in Appendix 2). Whenever one or more of these principles and maxims is flouted, an implicature will be needed to arrive at the extra meaning of an utterance. Botha (1991a:48) explains: "Implicatures are unstated propositions which a reader is able to deduce from what is actually stated by means of convention, presuppositions and the like. It helps to give explanations of why users of language are able to read "between the lines" as they so often have to do."10

1.3.1 Cooperative Principle and four maxims

Grice introduced Cooperative Principle (CP) and Maxims of conversation in his article Logic and conversation (1975). Grice (1975:45) explains that the Cooperative Principle is a general principle which "participants will be expected (ceteris paribus) to observe, namely: Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged". Briefly, participants recognise "a common purpose or set of purposes, or at least a mutually accepted direction" in conversation (Grice 1975:45). In accordance with the Cooperative Principle, four maxims should also be observed. Grice (1975:45-46) identifies them as follows:

Maxim of Quantity,11 Maxim of Quality,12 Maxim of Relation,13 and Maxim of Manner.14

As far as the above Cooperative Principle and maxims are concerned, I shall mention some remarks. Firstly, we should not forget Grice's (1975:46) gloss that "other maxims come into operation only [italics mine] on the assumption that this maxim of Quality is satisfied". Secondly, Leech (1983:84) points out that the maxims of Quality and of Quantity "frequently work in competition with one another" in actual conversation. He further explains that "the amount of information s [speaker] gives is limited by s's wish to avoid telling an untruth" (Leech 1983:84). Grice (1975:49) himself calls this a clash. From a logical perspective, this is obvious, yet we must be made aware of it. Thirdly, the flouting of the maxims "result in a number of so-called figures of speech such as metaphor, hyperbole, meiosis, irony and so on" (Botha 1991a:69; cf. also Grice 1975:53). Lastly, Botha (1991a:69) reiterates that the Cooperative Principle and maxims can be both un/intentionally non-fulfilled.15

1.3.2 Textual Rhetoric

In terms of pragmatics, the word rhetorical means "the study of the effective use of language in communication ... [t]he point about the term rhetoric ... is the focus it places on a goal-oriented speech situation, in which s uses language in order to produce a particular effect in the mind of h [hearer]" (Leech 1983:15). Leech (1983:15) uses this term as a countable noun, for the Rhetorics are meant for a set of conversational principles in relation to their functions. Since the textual function of language is a means of constructing a text, he adopts Slobin's four principles of Textual Rhetoric (with their maxims) as follows:16

 

 

1.3.3 Interpersonal Rhetoric

Since the interpersonal function of language is "an expression of one's attitudes and an influence upon the attitudes and behaviour of the hearer" (Leech 1983:56), this is a means to explain the relationship between sense and force of utterances in human communication.17 There are seven major principles with various maxims.18

 

 

 

 

I now offer some remarks concerning Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics. Firstly, Leech (1983:83) points out:

In being polite one is often faced with a CLASH between the CP and the PP so that one has to choose how far to 'trade off' one against the other; but in being ironic, one EXPLOITS the PP in order to uphold, at a remoter level, the CP.

Secondly, some utterances (e.g., orders) are innately impolite, and others (e.g., offers) are innately polite. According to Leech (1983:83-84),

[n]egative politeness therefore consists in minimizing the impoliteness of impolite illocutions, and positive politeness consists in maximizing the politeness of polite illocutions [italics mine].

Thirdly, the maxim - Be clear - belongs to the two Rhetorics. The Clarity Principle in Textual Rhetoric "consists in making unambiguous use of the syntax and phonology of the language in order to construct a clear TEXT"' (Leech 1983:100). The Manner Maxim in Interpersonal Rhetoric

consists in framing a clear MESSAGE ... which is perspicuous or intelligible in the sense of conveying the intended illocutionary goal to the addressee (Leech 1983:100).

Lastly, the following advice by Du Plessis (1985:31) concerning the Politeness Principle is relevant in this instance: "In our present study where we deal with texts which are the product of a culture very far removed in time and customs of our own, the principle should be implemented with extreme caution." In my opinion, however, this advice is relevant not only to the Politeness Principle, but also to the remaining principles, especially those of Interpersonal Rhetoric.

1.4 Pratt's display text

In her book Toward a speech act theory of literary discourse, Pratt (1977) remarks that any types of communication, including literary works, are initiated and utilised because the information contained in such a communication is supposed to be new and/or interesting. She terms these characteristics assertibility and tellability; literary texts that possess such qualities are identified as 'display texts' (Pratt 1977:132-151). Pratt (1977:136) states:

In making an assertion whose relevance is tellability, a speaker is not only reporting but also verbally displaying a state of affairs, inviting his addressee(s) to join him in contemplating it, evaluating it, and responding to it ... He intends them to share his wonder, amusement, terror, or admiration of the event. Ultimately, it would seem, what he is after is an interpretation of the problematic event, an assignment of meaning and value supported by the consensus of himself and his hearers.

This notion of display text is crucial in analysing biblical texts such as John's Gospel, because the Gospels can also be classified as display texts. However, compared with mutual contextual beliefs, which are, to a large extent, socially and culturally determined, appropriateness conditions, assertibility and tellability are more universal in the nature of language communication. Pratt (1977:140) makes an interesting observation concerning tellability:

We expect narrative literary works to deal with people in situations of unusual conflict and stress, unusual for the characters if not for us.

This seems to be exactly what is happening in the story of John 9. In order to ascertain the validity of this assumption, I shall examine the text from this perspective, too.

1.5 Van Dijk's macrospeech-act structures

Our aim is to study how ... complex forms of behaviour are organized, both in social and in cognitive terms ... How do people plan, execute, and control complex interaction? How do they observe, understand or interpret, process, and memorize complex interaction? (Van Dijk 1980:135).

Van Dijk wrote his book Macrostructures in 1980 with the intention of addressing these issues. These questions echo the basic questions of speech act theory. In fact, Van Dijk analyses speech acts from his own perspective as macrospeech acts or global speech acts. This concept is vital as it contributes to our understanding and interpretation of a biblical text as a perfect unit or whole. Van Dijk's (1980:10-11) main points concerning these acts can be summarised as follows:

[M]acrostructures in the theory of social interaction are needed to account for the fact that participants plan, see, interpret, and memorize actions both locally and globally. In communicative verbal interaction, first of all, this means that we speak of pragmatic macrostructures to account for the global speech act being carried out by a sequence of speech acts.

Although it is impossible to investigate every detail in this citation, I shall use the above as a basis from which to explore the topic of macrospeech acts further. Firstly, I shall examine the question as to what macrostructures are. Thereafter, I shall turn my attention to macrorules, speech act sequences and macrospeech acts.

1.5.1 Macrostructures

Macrostructures are "higher-level semantic or conceptual structures that organize the 'local' microstructures of discourse, interaction, and their cognitive processing" (Van Dijk 1980:v). These microstructures denote local information such as "the meanings of words, phrases, clauses, and simple actions" (Van Dijk 1980:13) and "all those structures that are processed, or described, at the local or short-range level ... In other words, microstructures are the actually and directly 'expressed' structures of the discourse" (Van Dijk 1980:29). After defining these terms, Van Dijk (1980:80) proved that "each macrostructure is entailed by its underlying microstructure". How is he able to reach such a conclusion? He has used the macrorules to make such a point and utilises it as device. According to Van Dijk, the macrorules are "general rules that link textual propositions with the macropropositions used to define the global topic of a fragment. These rules are a kind of semantic derivation or inference rules" (1980:46).19 By applying the macrorules to microstructures, therefore, we are able to find a global topic (as a macrostructure) that "keeps the text globally coherent" (1980:41). It would be no exaggeration to say that this global coherence of a text is the most important notion of macrostructures, for Van Dijk (1980:105) explicitly demonstrates, as their main function, that "macrostructures define the global coherence of a text".

In order to observe how macrostructures define the global coherence of a text, let us scrutinise a few of their functions. Firstly, macrostructures organise complex (micro-) information. Secondly, they reduce complex information, defining "the relations between the microlevels and the macrolevels in terms of various reduction rules" (Van Dijk 1980:14). Thirdly, in the process of defining higher-level or global meaning derived from lower-level meanings, they construct "new meaning (i.e., meaning that is not a property of the individual constitutive parts). Hence, as their crucial function, macrostructures allow additional ways of comprehension for complex information" (Van Dijk 1980:15). Furthermore, the aspect that macrostructures may be found in several levels, which is not a function but an essential trait, is noteworthy. Van Dijk (1980:84) mentions the following on this point:

The highest level contains the macropropositions representing the text as a whole that cannot be further reduced by macrorules. The lowest level in general holds for short sequences of sentences (e.g., those of one paragraph) ... Finally, for very short texts (e.g., those consisting of one or two sentences), the macrostructure may be identical with the microstructure (by application of a ZERO rule).

1.5.2 Macrorules

As mentioned earlier, the device Van Dijk uses for seeking macrostructures is macrorules. They play a significant role in his analysis, for without them macrostructures cannot be properly obtained. When he explains them, he also adds a gloss that the "macrorules are abstract semantic mapping or inference rules and not cognitive rules or strategies. They ... merely define the linguistic-semantic notion of a 'global meaning' or 'topic' of a discourse" (Van Dijk 1980:82). The specifications of these rules are as follows:

a. Deletion (negative nature): "It deletes all those propositions of the text base which are not relevant for the interpretation of other propositions of the discourse" (Van Dijk 1980:46-47). This rule has two subcategories:

i. Weak deletion: It "deletes irrelevant detail" (Van Dijk 1980:47). The irrelevant details are "details that do not contribute to the construction of a theme or topic" (Van Dijk 1980:47).

ii. Strong deletion: It deletes "locally relevant detail" (Van Dijk 1980:47) and specific presuppositions of propositions (Van Dijk 1980:82).

b. Selection (positive nature): It "selects from a text base all propositions which are interpretation conditions (presuppositions) of other propositions in the text base" (Van Dijk 1980:47). The zero rule can be a variant of this rule.

i. Zero rule: It "yields the same proposition at a macrolevel which occurs in the microlevel. The ZERO rule is especially important in all kinds of (very) short discourses (e.g., one-sentence discourses) where microstructure and macrostructure simply may coincide" (Van Dijk 1980:49).

c. Generalization: It abstracts "from semantic detail in the respective sentences by constructing a proposition that is conceptually more general" (Van Dijk 1980:47).

d. Construction: It constructs a new proposition, "involving a new

predicate to denote the complex events described by the respective propositions of the text" (Van Dijk 1980:48). The "constructed macroproposition [by this rule] is equivalent to the joint sequence of propositions of the text" (Van Dijk 1980:83).

I shall make the following supplementary observations. Firstly, the above definitions fail to clarify the difference between Generalization and Construction, because both rules function to construct a new proposition. In Generalization, each proposition entails another proposition. Construction, by contrast, involves the joint sequence of propositions, which entails another proposition (Van Dijk 1980:80). Secondly, just as macrostructures have different levels, so macrorules also operate at different levels. "This means that we cannot speak about 'the' or 'one' macroproposition of a text, but should specify the level of each macroproposition" (Van Dijk 1980:49). Thirdly, Van Dijk (1980:65) is obviously right when he states, "Crucial ... is that the macrorules select or construct those propositions ... that are indeed socially most important or relevant". Fourthly, as for the ordering of macrorules, Van Dijk (1980:75) suggests the following provisional sequence when macrorules are applied to the actual analysis: Weak Deletion, Generalization, Construction and Strong Deletion. Since Selection is the positive formulation of the Deletion rule (Van Dijk 1980:47), it thus goes with (Strong) Deletion. Finally, the "generalization or the construction operations ... allow us to obtain an interpretation or an evaluation" (Van Dijk 1980:74). This is a simple statement, but its implication is profound for our intention: to achieve a sound interpretation of a text.

1.5.3 Speech act sequences and macrospeech acts

The action sequences in relation to speech acts are known as speech act sequences. The latter means that

a number of speech acts of certain language users in the same situation may be taken as a unit of which the member speech acts somehow "belong together," whereas previous and following speech acts or speech acts by other participants do not belong to the sequence (Van Dijk 1980:181).

What condition determines which speech acts belong together? One decisive factor is conditional dependence and this is "one of the typical ways speech acts may be connected in sequence" (Van Dijk 1980:182).

Conditional dependence signifies two major functional relations between speech acts:

a. Relative: Appropriate "conditions may be relative: A speech act may not be appropriate in isolation but may function in a sequence of speech acts" (Van Dijk 1980:182) (E.g., a motivation for a request as the next speech act.)

b. Functional:

i. Explanation: Assertions "about conditions of any kind that are put after other speech acts usually have an explanatory function" (Van

Dijk 1980:183).

ii. Conclusion: Some speech acts "function as consequences that may be stated or commanded in the form of conclusions (... with initial so)" (Van Dijk 1980:183).

iii. Correction, Contrast, or Protest (Van Dijk 1980:183): These relations show that the (subsequent) speech acts that follow the preceding speech acts function as a correction, a contrast, or a protest, respectively.

In these relationships, we could say that "speech act sequences may further be goal-directed; that is, the sequence is connected such that each following speech act is accomplished with the purpose and the intention to reach a sequential result or a sequential goal" (Van Dijk 1980:181). If we recognise this intended goal in a speech-acts sequence, "we may apparently assign one global speech act to a sequence of speech acts, under certain conditions (e.g., in case other speech acts are subordinate, preparatory, explanatory, or auxiliary)" (Van Dijk 1980:184). Hence, we can conclude that macrospeech acts (or global speech acts) are macrostructures of certain speech-acts sequences of a discourse.

One of the key issues of macrospeech acts can be summed up in the question: "How do we arrive at the global speech act?" (Van Dijk 1980:193). Just as macrostructures may operate at several different levels, so do macrospeech acts and macrorules. The latter function to bring macrospeech acts from the lower level structures. Again, these macrorules serve to "delete irrelevant details and generalize and construct global actions" (Van Dijk 1980:184-185).

In this instance, I wish to make two remarks regarding macrospeech acts. Firstly, it is possible for a speaker to perform several macrospeech acts in a conversation or other discourse, because there may be some consecutive stages or phases of the global speech act induced by several turns in the speech-acts sequences (Van Dijk 1980:192). Secondly, Van Dijk (1980:192) also points out:

[W]e do not merely have speech acts but speech interaction and therefore either we must say that there is a primary global speech act, of one speaker, such that other participant is involved by cooperation in the successfulness of this global speech act or we must assume that in conversation each global speech act has also a global counterpart, resuming the speech acts of the other participant.

1.6 Ironic speech acts

Dodd ([1953] 1985:357) praises John 9 as "rich in the tragic irony of which the evangelist is master". Culpepper (1983:73) maintains that "John 9 with its seven scenes, marks a new level of literary achievement as it ties the discourse material to the sign and weaves the whole into a delightful ironic and dramatic unit". Duke (1982:180) regards John 9 as one of two great episodes in the Fourth Gospel, "in which the author so skillfully employs the full range of his ironic art". Yet, as Botha (1991) points out in his two articles, The case of Johannine irony reopened I & II, astonishingly few criticisms of Johannine irony have been produced thus far, and the identification and description of irony in literary works need vast improvement. Turner (1996:3) identifies with the current consensus on the issue: "The definitions of irony throughout history give a clear picture of confusion concerning the concept". For this current problematic situation, Botha (1991c:221) suggests an additional perspective, namely that "speech act theory might offer a very helpful method of dealing with irony" and argues in favour thereof. In response to his plea for continued research on the ironies of the Fourth Gospel (Botha 1991c:231), I wish to present a theoretical yet experimental framework as an explanation of irony from a speech act perspective and to apply it to the text of John 9. No critics, according to my knowledge, have employed such an approach to the text of John 9 yet. My approach would, therefore, contribute to Johannine research, if my attempt is indeed the first of its kind.

Past theoretical discussions on irony in general and from a speech act perspective 20 need not be repeated in this instance, as more detailed discussions are beyond the scope of this present study. In addition, the insights gained from their discussions can be utilised in order to formulate a method. In the light of these points, I wish to present the outline of a methodological framework for identifying and describing irony. Where necessary, I shall provide brief notes afterwards.

Analytical outline for ironic speech acts21

A. Preliminary steps for identifying ironic utterances:22

When you notice that something is not right or true in the literal interpretation (meaning) in an utterance, is there any clue to interpret it differently?

i. Is there any use of some form of the word 'irony' (Amante 1981:83)? (E.g., Is it not ironic that ... )

ii. Is there any indication of some contradictions? O'Day (1986:26-29) suggests three areas in which to find this:

1. In the relationship between text and context, does the text indicate any conflict with mutual contextual beliefs (physical environment)?

2. In the relationship between text and co-text, does the text indicate any conflict with the context created literally by the implied author (co-text: linguistic environment)?

3. In the relationship between text and text, is there any disparity evident in different levels of the particular text itself, e.g., any abrupt change in style or tone, the use of words with double meanings and textual ambiguity, and the use of rhetorical questions, understatement, overstatement, parody, paradox, repetition, and metaphor?

iii. Do you suspect any violation of the sincerity conditions, especially of the Quality Maxim?

iv. Do you suspect any violation of other Maxims?

v. Are there more than two illocutionary forces in the utterance?

vi. Does the utterance observe the Irony Principle?

vii. Is there any interpreter of the text who suggests or suspects that the utterance is ironic?

If the answer to any of the above questions is 'yes', the utterance may be further analysed using the following steps in order to determine whether it is an ironic speech act or not.

B. Verifying steps for identifying ironic utterances: Go through all the steps below, unless otherwise stated:23

i. Identify the following three participants, bearing in mind the two levels of communication (story and text): Ironist, Observers, and Target (or Victim). (One should note that, in the case of situational irony, there is basically no ironist. (cf. Turner 1996:7).

ii. Classify the utterance according to the types of irony.

1. Verbal irony: The irony intentionally used by the ironist in his speech.

2. Situational irony: The irony induced by some disparity or incongruity in an event.

a. Dramatic irony: The irony perceived by "the observer's knowledge of what the victim has yet to find out" (Culpepper 1983:168).

b. Irony of events: The irony derived from the outcome of an event which is neither expected nor desired.

c. Irony of self-betrayal: The irony resulting from the victim's utterance or action which unconsciously shows his own ignorance, weakness, errors, or follies.

d. Irony of dilemma: The irony occurring in a dilemma or some other impossible situation.

iii. Find the nature of oppositions (choose one according to the irony concerned):

1. Counterfactual propositional or lexical oppositions, e.g., a simplex reversal plot (which is the opposition in "which the projected expectations A are negated at some point so that a proposition P becomes not P" (Amante 1981:81).

2. Pragmatic opposition (any violation of Maxims/conditions). This "opposition occurs when there is a surface mismatch between the experience and the appropriateness of the articulation about the experience" (Roy 1981:413).

iv. If the utterance falls into the category of situational irony, skip this step iv) and directly go to step v). If the utterance falls into the category of verbal irony, test it by applying the following ironic speech act condition):24

1. Prove it using Propositional Content Conditions (using the reference rules):25

a. "In the utterance of the ironic speech act (Ir) the speaker must successfully refer to some entity X" (Amante 1981:84).

b. "Propositions P and P' must both identify X as their common referent" (Amante 1981:84).

2. Prove it using Preparatory Conditions:

a. "The speaker believes the audience can detect the disparity between P and P' and assists them by providing lexical clues in P and P' and/or contextual clues" (Amante 1981:85).

b. "The speaker intends to create a counterfactual speech act" (Amante 1981:85). "This blocks misfires of the type caused by unintentional ironic passages ... But it is difficult to prove irony is unintentional or intentional" (Amante 1981:85). Therefore, Amante modifies this rule as follows.

c. "The speaker (ironist) takes responsibility for creating a counterfactual speech act" (Amante 1981:85).

3. Prove it using Sincerity Conditions:

a. "The Speaker believes that the sincerity rule for the illocution in which P occurs does not obtain" (Amante 1981:86).

b. "Thus the sincerity rule, whether it specifies a belief or a desire (as most do), of the illocution is negated and is in some way inoperative" (Amante 1981:86).

4. Prove it using Essential Conditions:

"The utterance of Ir [ironic speech act] counts as the undertaking of deliberately creating a superficially counterfactual speech act" (Amante 1981:88).

v. Classify the utterance according to the speech act taxonomy:

Use the scheme of Bach and Harnish's (1979) taxonomy. Exclude conventional illocutionary acts (Effectives and Verdictives), because "they are incompatible with ironic interpretation" (Haverkate 1990:89). No sincerity condition applies to them. In addition, "they cannot be performed nonliterary" (Bach & Harnish 1979:118).

vi. What is the speaker's intended meaning or message?

If the utterance is successfully analysed according to the above steps, it can be concluded that the utterance is ironic.

C. Final step in identifying ironic utterances: Determine what perlocutionary act is performed by this ironic utterance. In other words, how does this ironic utterance function in the particular text?

Notes on the outline

Firstly, the question of two or more illocutionary forces in an utterance (see A-v) is included in the preliminary steps because of the understanding that all verbal ironic speech acts are indirect speech acts (Amante 1981:80; Botha 1991c:227). However, Searle ([1979] 1981:115, 143) differentiates indirect speech act from metaphor and irony. His different view may be derived from his definitions of indirect speech acts and irony. According to Searle ([1979] 1981:143), irony is an utterance "where the speaker says one thing but means the opposite of what he says, and indirect speech acts where the speaker says one thing, means what he says, but also means something more". A more traditional definition of irony is "saying something other than what one means" (Roy 1981:411). In light of these definitions, strictly speaking, irony is different from indirect speech act, as Searle points out. But it is also true that ironic speech act has more than two illocutionary forces. In this limited sense only, as a result, it can be said that all verbal ironies are indirect speech acts.

Secondly, in the item of three participants (B-i) in verifying the steps for identifying ironic utterances, the two rhetorical levels (the character level and the implied author-reader level) in the narrative (cf. section 2.2.1) should, in my opinion, be distinguished from a so-called double-layered or two-storey phenomenon of irony. The two-storey phenomenon of irony indicates that at "the lower level is the situation either as it appears to the victim of irony (where there is a victim) or as it is deceptively presented by the ironist (where there is an ironist) ... At the upper level is the situation as it appears to the observer or the ironist" (Muecke [1969] 1980:19). New Testament scholars such as Culpepper (1983:165-180), Duke (1982), and O'Day (1986), who have dealt with Johannine irony, do not appear to clearly differentiate these two concepts. This prevents them from adequately accounting for Johannine irony, as Botha (1991b:214-218, 1991c:222) rightly points out. In my understanding, Botha's (1991b:214) remark that "[i]f we look at the utterance on the level of the characters in the text, the question arises as to where the 'double storied' character of this utterance lies", suggests the necessity of such a distinction for the analysis of irony. Therefore, for the sake of clarity, I would like to elucidate some points involving this distinction:

a. In the case of verbal irony, the location of an ironic utterance goes well with the level of the ironist. For instance, when the ironist is one of the characters in the story, the ironic utterance resides at the level of characters (e.g., John 9:27b).

b. In the case of situational irony, in which there is basically no ironist, the location of an ironic utterance depends on the level of the observer, for the utterance becomes irony when the observer perceives it as such. For instance, when the observer is the implied reader, the ironic utterance is considered as being at the text level (e.g., John 9:16a).

c. In the majority of cases of both verbal and situational ironies, these two concepts can overlap. This means that the lower and upper levels in the double-layered phenomenon of irony perfectly correspond to the character and text levels, respectively (e.g., John 9:16a).

d. In some instances of verbal irony, it is possible that all three participants reside at the character level. Simultaneously, the double-layered phenomenon of irony can be described only in this character level. In a case of self-irony, which is different from the irony of self-betrayal, the ironist can simultaneously be the victim and the observer. This shows the need to distinguish between the two levels of communication and the double-layered phenomenon of irony. This kind of distinction is somewhat similar to Muecke's distinction between Simple Irony and Double Irony: "It is, I think, profitable to distinguish 'Simple Irony', in which the opposition is solely between levels, and 'Double Irony' ... in which there is also a more obvious opposition within the lower level" (Muecke [1969] 1980:20).

Furthermore, this double-layered phenomenon of irony becomes a basis for the element of detachment in an ironic situation. The ironist or observer may experience some kind of superiority over the victim. This phenomenon also leads to an important feature of irony: a contrast between appearance and reality. Turner (1996:4) sums up this feature in an interesting way, stating that "the ironist presents an appearance and pretends to be unaware of a reality, while the victim of the irony is unaware of a reality and deceived by an appearance".

Thirdly, one should note that it is very difficult (cf. B-ii), if not impossible, to achieve a definite classification of irony "because of the very dynamic and flexible character of irony" (Turner 1996:3). This character causes irony to take various forms and to be still developing in terms of its conceptualisation (Turner 1996:4). As illustration, the following are the approximate numbers of types of irony which various critics have identified: four (Haverkate 1990), five (Culpepper 1983:168), six (MacRae 1973), at least seven (Duke 1982; Botha 1991b:210-212), eight (Booth 1974:235), and at least thirty-one (Muecke [1969] 1980:v-vi, 44, 99). Turner (1996:5-7) categorises seven types of irony in Chapter Two of his book, but refers to at least twenty different types in the endnotes. These numbers indicate that a classification of irony is, in fact, a reflection of one's perspective of the nature, character, function or use of irony. In other words, as Booth (1974:233) proposes, the "domains of irony will be mapped differently depending on one's critical purposes and principles". Therefore, my list of the types of irony that will be employed in this study consists of two major types and four subtypes. It reflects my purpose of analysing a biblical narrative as literature. Since the list is not a closed one, other types may sometimes be utilised for more clarification. The ensuing paragraph describes such an example.

Culpepper (1996:194) states that the issue as to whether Johannine irony is stable or unstable has become pivotal in its interpretation. Booth (1974:5-6) first introduces the four marks of stable irony as follows:

a. It is intended;

b. It is covert;

c. It is stable or fixed (the reader is not invited to undermine it with further refutations and reconstructions), and

d. It is finite (the reconstructed meanings are, in some sense, local and limited).

Johannine irony in the text of John 9 may also be examined from this angle.

As far as propositional and pragmatic oppositions (B-iii) are concerned, Roy's (1981) thesis that the notion of opposition must be extended to include both propositional opposition and pragmatic opposition gives an important insight into our understanding of irony in this instance, especially its nature and occurrence. She indicates that some ironic utterances cannot be sufficiently elucidated by the traditional definition of irony, which basically deals with lexical or propositional opposition, by using the example of "That was a curb you just drove over" (Roy 1981:412). Thus she argues for the need for pragmatic opposition to account adequately for other instances of irony. Botha (1991c:231) supports her, stating that "by also including the notion of pragmatic opposition, it now becomes possible to accurately describe and identify ironies which our previously limited methodology would not allow". Hence, it is necessary to include the aspect of pragmatic opposition for a better understanding of irony.

The final step should determine what kind of perlocution is intended by the ironist, since it is assumed that he has a certain purpose or anticipates some effect on the hearer when he utters an ironic speech act. Otherwise, the ironist does not need to make such an utterance. Amante (1981:91) proposes an interesting observation regarding the effect of an ironic speech act:

Irony is one particular kind of figurative use which does affect illocutionary force: its effect is additive at both the sentence level and at the level of rules. Ironic speech acts are what I call affective speech acts ... Affective acts thus are neither pure perlocutions nor pure illocutions; instead they are a blend of both.

Amante (1981:92) also mentions that this affective effect

on the audience of irony is a response of sorts. Irony consists of a variety of contradiction or opposition; the recognition of this state causes the audience to reprocess the illocutionary act. The affective effect draws attention to the language itself and focuses on the message.

Amante's distinctive point, to put it boldly, is that the hearer's primal concern in his response is not the perlocutionary act, but the utterance itself. For instance, when the hearer does not really understand an ironic utterance initially, he needs to go back to the same utterance again in order to figure out the real meaning. This is, according to him, not a pure perlocution but a perlocutionary-like effect (Amante 1981:89). This is indeed interesting, but it is, in my opinion, more an explanation of the process of decoding of irony than of the effect of irony. Moreover, Amante (1981: 90-91) implies that the notion of this affective effect is greatly strengthened by a point of view that some illocutionary acts do not have perlocutions:

Praise usually has no perlocution attached to it in isolation ... Praise can take unassociated perlocutions because its speech act rules do not require a future action by either speaker or hearer: it is amenable to contextual 'suggestions'. That is, perlocutions can be added. Perhaps one of the effects of irony is also to add perlocutions to speech acts which normally do not have them.

However, I am of the opinion that praise usually has a certain perlocution -making the hearer feel good. Some critics mention that a promise does not usually have an intended perlocutionary effect (cf. Austin [1962] 1976:126; Searle [1969] 1980:71). Others claim that the perlocution of promise can be that the speaker intends the hearer to believe that his utterance obligates him to do something (Bach & Harnish 1979:50). I would opt for the latter view. However, speech act theorists such as Austin ([1962] 1976:110), Cohen (1973), Leech (1983:226) and Levinson (1983:237) debate the issue of the relationship between illocutionary acts and perlocutionary acts. Therefore, it would be premature to use it in this present study, even though the notion of affective speech acts is worth considering. It is important for this study that the effect of irony can still be discussed within the framework of the notion of perlocutionary acts. An ironic speech act is indeed designed to achieve a certain purpose.

Function and use of irony

As to the function and use of irony in John's Gospel or generally, some scholars have made the following statements:

  • Muecke ([1969] 1980:232): Irony as a rhetorical device to enforce one's meaning, a satiric device to attack, and a heuristic device to make one's interpretation clearer.
  • Roy (1981:409): Irony as "an individual, or psychological, strategy of control, and as a social device for group cohesiveness".
  • Duke (1982:56-65): Irony as appeal and weapon.
  • Culpepper (1983:180): Irony as "a net in which readers are caught and drawn to the evangelist's theology and faith".
  • O'Day (1986:30): Irony as a way of involving readers in the communication process of the text.
  • O'Day (1986:31): Irony as "a mode of revelatory language. It reveals by asking the reader to make judgments and decisions".
  • Botha (1991c:230): Irony as "a device for controlling and manipulating readers".
  • Turner (1996:47): Irony as "a means of expressing frustration, fear and antagonism".
  • Turner (1996:47): Irony as deconstruction and reconstruction.

Lastly, in the actual analysis of ironic utterances, the order of the steps, as specified, should be followed. However, the procedure may perhaps not be followed exactly in all instances, because an analysis of irony is not as simple as it would seem from the above. It may sometimes be impossible to maintain the intended order. It is hoped that the analytical outline will show what kind of elements of irony must be considered in the actual analysis, and that should be the main purpose for this outline.

1.7 Conclusion

In this section, I have presented the basic concept of speech act theory and provided some relevant insights from linguistics, especially from pragmatics, in order to utilise my approach for an analysis of biblical texts with the emphasis on language functions and meanings. One should bear in mind, however, the basic difference between the analysis and the meaning of an utterance. Roughly speaking, Austin and Searle analyse utterance and introduce three different kinds of acts to describe it, whereas Grice and Leech deal mainly with the meaning of utterance. They identify two kinds of meanings: literal-specific meaning, and implicature (Grice) or pragmatic force (Leech). The subtle yet basic difference between the two parties is derived from their different perspectives. Hence, speech act theory itself contains a range of differing views on main topics. Therefore, the discussion in this instance will not be exhaustive. It is hoped, however, that the methodological concepts introduced in this section will provide a sufficient basis to analyse a given text. In conclusion, I shall sum up the thesis of my speech act analysis in the following question: How does the implied author write an account (or make an utterance) in order that his intention may be recognised by the implied reader and that his intended result may be achieved on the same reader?

 

2. INCORPORATION OF OTHER APPROACHES

In this section, I shall not focus on the concepts, history and development of the approaches I wish to utilise, but rather on the formulation of part of the theoretical framework for the speech act analysis thus far proposed. I shall, therefore, emphasise how some notions from other approaches can be employed for the approach followed in this study, providing brief definitions and indicating limitations of those concepts. In this limited sense only, I shall discuss colon analysis, narrative criticism, reader-response criticism and social-scientific criticism.

2.1 Colon analysis

In my speech act reading of John 9 (cf. Chapter 4), I shall present structural analysis charts (in the sections on 'Overview and structural analysis chart') based on colon analysis, which has become known as South African discourse analysis. As Snyman (1991:89) points out, however, "the description must not be absolutised as though it represents the structure of a text ... It rather represents no more than the exegete's interpretation of the structure of the text". Therefore, the analysis in the sections on 'Overview and structural analysis chart' merely shows one possible way of seeing a structure of the given text. For the purpose of this study, I shall pay more attention to the analysis of the surface structure of the text, and this will be reflected in the structural analysis charts.26

2.1.1 Basic procedures

Although the actual analysis seems to be rather complicated, the steps involved in implementing this colon analysis are rather simple. To start with, the text will be divided into basic structural units called cola (singular, colon). Pelser and others (1992:i) state:

The basic element of this method is the colon as the smallest semantic unit of discourse, consisting of a noun phrase and a verb phrase which can either be explicitly or implicitly present in the surface structure. In a more complex form both these components of the colon can be elaborated or qualified respectively by means of embedded adjectival or adverbial sentences, clauses, and phrases, provided that they are grammatically linked to one aspect only - either to the noun or to the verb phrase.

The second step will be to demarcate the cola into units, clusters, or pericopes - basically according to semantic contents. In order to indicate the semantic and/or syntactic relations between cola and within a colon,27lines will be drawn to the left of the text. To the right of the text, another line will be drawn to show the cluster divisions as well as some rhetorical features. When the various semantic relationships are discussed, stylistic and structure markers (Snyman 1991:90), and the systematic outline developed by Nida and others (1983:102-103) can be utilised. In dealing with cohesion, the theme or pivotal point of a cluster or unit also needs to be identified.

The final step will be a synthesis based on the previous steps. In this instance, I shall describe the relationships between the clusters, and attempt to evaluate the cohesion of the entire text, in particular.

2.1.2 Explanation of the numbering system used in the schematic presentations

The whole numbers or integers show main clauses, and the decimal fractions show subordinate clauses. There are some cases in which the decimal fractions plus asterisks (*) also express main clauses. The number used for verse reference is basically accompanied by the indicator verse (e.g., v. 1), except for the customary indicator such as 9:1. Regarding the other features, the parenthesis { } indicates an ellipsis, and a word inside the parenthesis is my insertion. The line of five dots indicates that some words have been omitted in that particular position in order to describe a syntactical relationship more clearly. In these instances, the missing words are usually supplied in the expansion that follows. Grammatical (word) analysis is not generally done on repeated words. This also applies to related words derived from the same root word in Greek, unless they are significant enough to be noted.

2.2 Narrative criticism

The overall aim of narrative criticism for the study of the Fourth Gospel is, as Culpepper (1983:5) states, "to contribute to understanding the gospel as a narrative text, what it is, and how it works", presupposing that the Gospel of John is a unified narrative. Therefore, my speech act analysis on the text of Chapter 9, which has a similar purpose, will benefit greatly from some concepts offered by this narrative-critical approach.28

The text of John 9 is perceived as part of a narrative consisting of story and discourse. Chatman (1978:23) defines these terms as follows: "Story is the content of the narrative expression, while discourse is the form of that expression". Kingsbury (1986:2) puts those terms in more simple words: "the 'story' is 'what' is told, whereas the 'discourse' is 'how' the story is told". From this angle, in my opinion, the story of John's Gospel depicts the life of Jesus, the Son of God, from his pre-existence glory to his final glorification, with specific emphasis on his earthly life. The discourse of this Gospel is how this story of Jesus' life is told, expressed, and communicated.29

2.2.1 Rhetorical levels and associated personages

The narrative-communication model

Since a "narrative is a communication" (Chatman 1978:28) between two parties, the identification of sender (authors) and receiver (readers) in the narrative text becomes essential for our study. For this identification, I shall present my own model for which I am indebted to Chatman (1978:151) and Staley (1988:22).

 

 

Basically, the narrative world inside the box is the object of my analysis. In this instance, it is important to remember three glosses. Firstly, all the personages in the box are fictional and are not referred to as flesh-and-blood individuals.30Secondly, since there seems to be no practical advantage of making a distinction between implied reader and narratee,31 as far as the understanding of our text is concerned, I shall not employ the notion of narratee.32Finally, as Botha (1991a:115, 1991d, 1991e) points out, it is important to distinguish between the implied author-reader level, which is sometimes called the text level, and the character level or story level in the text analysis.

Real author and real reader

The term real author will be used to indicate the flesh-and-blood author responsible for writing and completing the finished form of narrative accounts of John's Gospel, including editors, if any. Conventionally, the real author of John's Gospel is often referred to as the Fourth Evangelist (Du Rand 1994:14). The real author of this Gospel has not yet been identified with unquestionable certainty. The history of the investigation into the authorship displays its difficulties. Although some implications in this regard may be suggested during the course of my speech act analysis, the actual identification of the real author is beyond the scope of this study.

The term real reader will be used to refer to any flesh-and-blood reader who reads the text of John's Gospel. While existing since the time of completion of the text until the present, the original historical readers are considered to be those for whom the real author wrote (for such a clue, cf. John 20:31). They can be reconstructed by "other first-century documents ... social and historical knowledge and literary conventions of the time, or ... the reader's role as laid down in the text" (Culpepper 1983:206). The real reader resides at the top rhetorical level with the real author, as mentioned earlier. This is the only rhetorical level located outside the text.

Implied author and implied reader

The implied author is a fictional author who is literally created by the real author as his second self and who "must be inferred from the narrative" (Culpepper 1983:16). The implied author has "to educate, entertain, or persuade the implied reader [by using] the text's strategies and manipulative ploys (e.g., the roles of narrator and narratee, characters, focalization, irony, metaphor, allusion)" (Staley 1988:29). Staley (1988:27) states that "the term ... refers most generally to that sense of author which is communicated through the choice of narrative medium, and that which remains in the audience's memory even when the author is absent".

Kingsbury (1986:36) defines the implied reader as an "imaginary person in whom the intention of the text is to be thought of as always reaching its fulfilment". He is a fictional reader constructed in the reading process of the text, and he is situated at the same rhetorical level as the implied author, one level lower than the real author-reader level. Every rhetorical device or feature employed by the implied author in the text is aimed at this implied reader. He is, of course, not a hypothetical original reader.33 In this study, the simpler forms the author and the reader will always refer to the implied author and the implied reader, respectively.34 In other words, simple forms of 'the author and the reader' will never refer to the flesh-and-blood real author and reader.

Narrator and narratee

The narrator is the fictional speaker or voice created by the implied author to tell a story, and he is usually situated one rhetorical level lower than the implied author. While his existence may be optional, the narrator does exist in the Fourth Gospel. Culpepper (1983:16) points out: "In John, the narrator is undramatized and serves as the voice of the implied author". He also describes the narrator by using so-called five planes of the narrator's point of view: omniscient, omnipresent, retrospective, reliable and stereoscopic (Culpepper 1983:20-34). Furthermore, Culpepper (1983:34) defines the relationships between the narrator and Jesus as follows: the "narrator ... serves as an authoritative interpreter of Jesus' words". Kingsbury's (1986:35) comment on Matthew as the narrator can also apply to the narrator in John's Gospel. In the light of this application, the narrator in John 9 sometimes uses the historical present (e.g., John 9:12, 13, 17) for the double purposes of portraying the character's action more vividly and having characters interact directly not only with other characters, but also with the reader.

In his analysis of John 4, Botha (1991a:82) predetermines that he follows "Culpepper in not distinguishing between implied author and narrator and between implied reader and narratee ... this would mean that the levels of implied author/reader and narrator/narratee coincide and can thus be analyzed as one". I would agree with Botha regarding the treatment of the rhetorical levels, but disagree on the distinction between implied author and narrator. In my opinion, the narrator should be distinguished from the implied author in terms of their characteristics, since one of the great differences between the implied author and the narrator is that the narrator "can be 'seen by' or 'shown to' the reader; implied authors cannot" (Staley 1988:39). Secondly, while the narrator is responsible for telling a story, "the implied author can tell us nothing. He, or better, it has no voice, no direct means of communicating. It instructs us silently, through the design of the whole, with all the voices, by all the means it has chosen to let us learn" (Chatman 1978:148; cf. also Lategan 1991:148). Since these observations by Staley and Chatman are found to be valid in this study, it becomes necessary to maintain this distinction for the analysis of John 9. In this analysis, however, my view is that the narrator and the implied author belong to the same rhetorical level. After all, the narrator is a voice of the implied author.

Characters

Character is the last term of the communication model to be defined. "The term 'character' refers to a category of existents which inhabit the story world of a narrative and mimic human beings" (Staley 1988:47).

In order for any narrative to be successful, convincing characterisation is necessary. Thus characterisation "has to do with the ways in which an author brings characters to life in a narrative" (Kingsbury 1986:9). In contrast to his treatment on narratee, Culpepper's (1983:101-148) observations on characters in John are very insightful and helpful. He speaks of how the reader should view the characters, such as that the reader should "consider the characters in terms of their commissions, plot functions, and representational value" (Culpepper 1983:102), or that in "John's narrative world the individuality of all the characters except Jesus is determined by their encounter with Jesus" (Culpepper 1983:104). In fact, his seven categories of characters based on their responses to Jesus are very informative (Culpepper 1983:146-148). For instance, the blind man in Chapter 9 belongs to the fourth category of belief in Jesus' words.

2.3 Reader-response criticism

Lategan (1991:151) comments on reader-response criticism: "The importance of this approach is that it creates an intense awareness of the reading process and provides a framework within which the diverse aspects of this process can be integrated." Therefore, one of the most important goals of this approach is to interpret the text from the perspective of the temporal quality of narrative and to elucidate its rhetorical effects on the reader (cf. Staley 1988:8-9). Based on this observation, I wish to employ two concepts from this approach, namely the temporal quality of narrative and the victimisation of the reader.

2.3.1 Temporal quality of narrative

A central contribution of reader-response criticism is the interpretation of the text through the analysis of narrative temporality or linearity. Critics make note of and/or use this linearity trait.35 The notions of narrative temporality and linearity can be best explained in relation to a significant difference between implied author and implied reader (Tolmie 1995:20, 39-40, 1999:8-9). While the implied author knows the whole story at any given moment, the implied reader only knows what he has read up to the given time (Staley 1988:35). This can also become an important aspect in a speech act analysis.36 Therefore, when dealing with the text of John 9, I shall assume that the implied reader is perfectly aware of what has happened in the story up to the ninth chapter, including a vast amount of information given in the Prologue (which the characters in the story do not possess).

There are a few interesting functions of narrative temporality. Firstly, in relation to my last remark, Staley (1988:47) makes the fascinating observation that one "of the major effects of a text's rhetoric and of our enjoyment in reading comes precisely from the interplay between the characters' knowledge and that of the implied reader". As will be noted, this interplay becomes a logical basis upon which the implied author builds most of the ironies in the text. Secondly, this temporality or linearity creates the rhetorical devices of suspense and astonishment (Staley 1988:34).

2.3.2 Victimisation of the implied reader

Another significant contribution of reader-response criticism to the study of the Fourth Gospel indicates that the relationship between implied author and implied reader is far from simple (Tolmie 1995:48-49). Staley (1988) illustrated the complex nature of their relationship, especially through the technique known as reader victimisation or reader entrapment: at an initial stage, the implied author gives the implied reader only limited information about the story so that certain knowledge, perspectives or expectations may be formed in the mind of the implied reader. In the next stage, additional significant information is revealed to the implied reader with the purpose of correcting his first perspective or expectation. This correction leads to the final stage where the implied author wins back the allegiance of the implied reader once again. Hence, the implied reader is forcefully guided towards the goal that the implied author intends to achieve in the communication. When this literary device of reader victimisation is used in the texts, it is usually associated with other literary devices such as irony and/or misunderstanding (cf. Botha 1990b:45; Thatcher 1999:55). In my study of this Gospel, I assume that the implied author uses this technique in order to guide the implied reader to a higher and deeper dimension of faith.

2.4 Historical criticism

The relationship between historical criticism and my speech act analysis is not identical to the relationship described thus far. The main concern of this relationship is not with the utilisation of some methodological concepts for my theoretical framework, but with the results or insights gained from historical investigation for a better understanding of the text. The reason is that, as mentioned earlier, a speech act approach emphasises the importance of contexts such as historical, social, cultural, religious, linguistic, literary, and so on. Accordingly, it can accommodate and apply, instead of discard, insights from other approaches such as historical criticism. In particular, some valuable data concerning the Palestinian society of the New Testament times from social-scientific criticism will be of great assistance.

For the sake of clarity, the term historical criticism in this study does not point to any specific approach such as a source-critical approach or a form-critical approach, and is thus used as an umbrella term to designate historical approaches, in general, as opposed to literary approaches. Speaking of contrast, the fact that a speech act approach should deal with social and historical contexts suggests that this approach operates on a premise that differs from previous literary approaches such as structuralism. It has the obvious advantage of attempting to minimise the gap between two approaches (cf. also Ashton 1994:208), "particularly when ... the focus remains on the finished form of the document" (De Boer 1992:41). White (1988b:54) states that "because of the importance of felicity conditions, a speech act theory of literature would have to place Biblical literature in its social and even historical context, thereby bringing together the literary and historical perspectives". I wish to make a meaningful contribution to recent endeavours that attempt to integrate different methodological approaches in order to obtain a more comprehensive exegetical approach. In my observation, as mentioned earlier, this endeavour is currently gaining more strength (cf. section 2 in Chapter 1). However, my position regarding the essential question of which is supposed to be the dominant factor in the interpretation of the text, the internal information in the text or the contextual information outside the text, remains identical to that of Du Plessis (1996:343) who states that the internal material is the conclusive factor.

2.4.1 Social-scientific criticism

With reference to social-scientific criticism,37 I would like to mention three remarks for this study. Firstly, since I am not an expert on this form of criticism, I shall follow Elliot's (1993:35) view of social-scientific criticism as one of the historical-critical methods. It is, therefore, placed under the heading of historical criticism. One should bear in mind, however, that it has been expanded and improved from historical-critical approaches (Elliot 1993:13, 15) and that "there are a number of significant differences between these two approaches" (Botha 1999:2).38

Secondly, one of the most important facets of this criticism is "the fact that it utilizes models and model building" (Botha 1999:4). However, I do not intend to use models for my analysis, because it is beyond the scope of this study. I do intend to apply its insightful findings to it simply, yet carefully, for a better understanding of a given text (cf. some cautionary remarks in Du Plessis (1996)).

Thirdly, I wish to draw attention to the relationship between social-scientific criticism and the field of Johannine studies. Since the emergence of this criticism in the mid-1970s (Segovia 1995:374), many studies have been published in Johannine scholarship.39 Neyrey's studies in John's Gospel probably require separate attention, for he has already published several insightful works in this field (1981, 1987, 1988a, 1988b, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2007). If one includes the literature on the sectarian nature and social history of the Johannine community, the list will be extensive. Thus Segovia (1995:375) concludes that "cultural criticism has had a major impact on Johannine studies". On the other hand, Botha (1999:1) views the current situation in a different light: "The social scientific revolution in New Testament studies has hardly impacted on Johannine studies at all." In fact, compared to a considerable number of studies this criticism has produced for the other areas in the New Testament, such as Synoptic Gospels introduced in Elliott's (1993:138-174) comprehensive bibliographies, Johannine studies occupy only a small portion of the list. The way in which this relationship is judged ultimately depends on one's point of view. In my opinion, however, a great deal of work can still be done to contribute to Johannine scholarship by exploring social-scientific criticism (for a recent comment on this, cf. Kysar 2002:29ff.).

 

3. SPEECH ACT ANALYSIS

3.1 Advantages of speech act analysis

Although various scholars, who believed in its potential for their chosen research fields, have developed and utilised speech act theory for the past fifty years, New Testament scholarship, in general, and Johannine scholarship, in particular, have not fully enjoyed its advantages. Since I use this theory as my methodological approach, I shall list some of the advantages in doing so briefly. As Botha (1991e) has already published an insightful article on this topic, my list will be based on his work. However, I shall add some modifications and my own items.

a. Unit of analysis: The basic methodological approach can be the same for analysing a unit regardless of its size, whether it is a single word, a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire document. Therefore, the text, as a whole or as a small section, can be analysed in a very unified manner. This brings a sense of consistency to the analysis. I shall illustrate this advantage in terms of microspeech acts and macrospeech acts within the story of John 9 (cf. Chapter 4).

b. Significance of context: Since this approach necessitates the

identification and utilisation of specific speech situations in order to elucidate the use and meaning of utterances in a communication process, it recognises the importance of contexts - historical, social, cultural, religious, linguistic, literary, and so on (cf. also Combrink 1988:194). Accordingly, it respects and appreciates, instead of neglecting, insights from other approaches such as historical criticism. The investigation of these contexts will be reflected especially in 'Contextual survey' in Chapter 3 and 'Specific mutual contextual beliefs' discussed in Chapter 4.

c. Text type of analysis: This approach does not choose any specific text

in the analysis. Hence, it can treat all types of literary texts in terms of communication. Botha (1991e:295) contends: "The problematic distinctions between so-called ordinary' and 'poetic' language are no longer valid distinctions in the study of the texts." Thus this approach has great potential for biblical scholarship as a whole.

d. Utilisation of insights from other literary approaches: As introduced in the last section, I can also utilise additional extra-linguistic insights derived from narratology and reader-response criticism in my speech act analysis. This is due to the fact that some of the sub-purposes or concepts of these approaches and of the speech act approach overlap. For instance, the notion of a perlocutionary act is closely linked to the reader-response analysis in terms of the effect or response a text evokes in the reader. Most importantly, they share a common interest in how language functions.

e. A new communication analysis: As this approach claims systematised sets of conditions and principles of human behavior in communication based on the postulate that "speaking a language is engaging in a rule governed form of behavior" (Searle [1969] 1980:22), it provides a communication analysis in a more comprehensive or at least novel way.

f. Weapons of speech act approach: A speech act approach has descriptive apparatus such as the notions of illocutionary and perlocutionary acts and of implicature, which make "it possible to explain the process of how certain meanings are arrived at" in the communication (Botha 1991e:298). For this reason, this approach can furnish a clearer explanation than the previous formalist approaches which lack appropriate tools to explicate such a process (Botha 1991e:297).

g. Evaluation of utterance: As this approach deals with an utterance not in terms of true or false, but mainly in terms of success, appropriateness, or effectiveness, a new way of understanding a text is possible. This creates a different and fresh appreciation of human communication in the texts. For instance, this approach can even reveal a significance of failed communication between the participants in a dialogue (e.g., cf. section 6.4 in Chapter 4).

h. Responsibilities of author and reader In light of the distinctive postulate that speaking a language is a rule-governed behaviour, both author and reader are required to act according to the 'rules' in their communication process. As a result, this approach regards the responsibilities of both author and reader as very important. This renders a new perspective on their communication. "Readers feel and expect that the writer is under an obligation to make his text worthy of their attention, and they are thus willing to allow the writer some freedom and bring their own behaviour into line with what can be expected of an audience" (Botha 1991e:299). This assures the critic of a text in which every utterance is meaningful in some way or another and worthy of his close attention.

i. Intentionality: As Botha (1991a:66) and Tovey (1997:78) point out, speech act theory can discuss and highlight the intention of the implied author in the literary work without falling into the trap of "intentional fallacy", because some kind of intentionality is inherent in the very nature of an illocutionary act. Such an intentionality can be analysed in this theory in a more responsible way than previously practiced.

j. A new way to examine irony Irony is a very powerful literary device. On the other hand, it is also a very complex concept that has confused many readers of literary works. As Botha (1991b, 1991c) convincingly argues, speech act theory can provide a new tool to understand irony better (see section 1.6).

k. Religious speech acts: Since all utterances in religious settings can be viewed as religious speech acts, all biblical texts need to be considered religious (speech) acts accordingly (Evans 1963; Patte 1988:92). Historical research focuses mainly on reconstructing the history behind the Gospel as well as that of Jesus and his contemporaries. Literary approaches are primarily concerned with aesthetic literary aspects of the texts. In these trends, re-appreciating and re-focusing upon the religious nature of biblical texts via a speech act approach could yield new insights in a more comprehensive way, "without falling into the trap of subjectivism" (Patte 1988:96). The reason for this is that this approach views the intentionality of a text according to the 'rules' (cf. also item i above). Patte (1988:95) states that "using a speech act theory approach means that when studying religious acts and religious discourses, the primary concern should be to account for the subjectivity of the religious practitioners or of the authors of a religious text".

l. Language distinction: From a narratological perspective, Chatman (1978:162-163) recognises another advantage: "The theory of speech acts provides a useful tool for distinguishing the language of the narrator vis-ä-vis his narrative audience from that of characters vis-ä-vis each other." What he probably means is that the communication between the narrator and the narratee or the implied reader can be differentiated from that between the characters by means of speech act theory, and especially by an analysis of illocutions. In this distinction, Chatman (1978:165) goes on to point out that the characters reserve a wider range of illocutions than the narrator. It is hoped that the result of speech acts used in the story of John 9 will prove this point (cf. section 1.2 in Chapter 5).

m. Tone of narrative According to Gros Louis, one of the major concerns of literary critics is the notion of tone. He defines this notion as "the narrative's relation to its subject or its attitude to its subject, as well as the narrative's relation to us as audience. Is the narrative condescending or apologetic? Does it seek to arouse our interest in a topic, to excite our emotions, to compel us to action, to make us sad or happy?" (Gros Louis 1982:18). In this regard, a speech act analysis is very useful.

It is hoped that all of the above-mentioned advantages are manifested in this study. This may not necessarily be the case, because the main purpose of this study is not to prove all these advantages, but rather to analyse a specific biblical text from a speech act perspective.

3.2 Disadvantages of speech act analysis

In her book review on Botha's (1991a) monograph, Rosenblatt (1993:570) criticises him for failing to indicate any of the limitations of speech act analysis. Although he hints at a condition on page 63, he never gives any concrete indication. Therefore, her criticism appears valid. Since the last section has presented the advantages of speech act analysis, it is also necessary to outline its disadvantages.

a. Diversity within the approach: Since speech act theory generates other theories (though this may be considered an advantage), it is difficult to discern its boundaries and its relationships with similar disciplines. Botha (1991d:279) comments that "the field of speech act theory is extremely divergent and to some extent very technical with approaches ranging from the language-philosophical to the pragmatic". Therefore, as mentioned earlier, it is crucial to establish one's own methodological framework before actually applying this approach. It is hoped that the methodological framework of this study will give a good example of the possibilities, following in the footsteps of scholars who have previously successfully employed this approach.

b. Poor adoption rate: The above disadvantage has resulted in few biblical scholars being interested in employing this speech act approach, even though they can be informed about the potential or the advantages of this approach (cf. Thiselton 1997:97, footnote 3). Another contributing factor to this poor adoption rate is that this approach does not guarantee to yield particularly new benefits, as Burridge (1993:263) rightly states. It rather confirms the insights that have been noted previously, only from a different angle. While it is true that this happens frequently, it is also true that this approach sometimes demonstrates its distinctiveness and does so in a more intriguing way. I would contend that this is a valuable approach which can yield good results if one faithfully follows the procedures of this method from the beginning. It is hoped, therefore, that this study will encourage other biblical scholars to seriously consider this approach as one of their potential methodologies. Furthermore, the application of this theory inevitably employs the use of technical language. This may be another reason for its poor adoption rate. In fact, the research produced by using speech act theory tends to receive criticism on this point (e.g., Burrige 1993:263). However, any scientific method perhaps requires some technical terminology and this is especially true of new approaches developed in recent years. Most of the technical terms can be understood without further difficulty, if these are presented more comprehensively. It is hoped that the charts and diagrams accompanying this study, such as 'Diagram of Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics', will help the readers of this study in this regard (cf. Appendices).

c. Major problems: Searle ([1979] 1981:vii) identifies the outstanding problematic areas of speech act theory as follows: "metaphor, fiction, indirect speech acts, and a classification of speech acts". I have already briefly touched upon the issues of indirect speech acts and of taxonomy of speech acts in sections 1.1 and 1.2.40

d. Other problematic issues As indicated in section 1.6, there is no clear-cut solution as to the issue of the relationship between illocutionary acts and perlocutionary acts (cf. also Cohen 1973; Stubbs 1983:152). Levinson (1983:237) calls this the issue of "uptake". Hirsch (1976:26) indicates that there is another unresolved tension in this speech act theory, namely that between intentionality and conventionality (cf. also White 1988a:12). In addition, there is the issue of the relations between illocutionary force and illocutionary force indicating device (Stubbs 1983:158). Sperber and Wilson (1986:243-254) mention some problems or limitations of this theory from the viewpoint of their relevance theory. However, in my opinion, not every argument is convincing.41 More minor problems may exist. However, these issues do not pose any serious problem in the utilisation of this theory. A discussion about these theoretical issues is beyond the scope of this study.

e. Not a self-sufficient approach: It is not surprising that a speech act approach on its own is not perfectly suited to analyse every aspect involved in a study of the texts. In fact, it is best used when other approaches are also applied to provide additional insights. According to Patte (1988:91), "speech act theory and reader criticism are a necessary complement to those approaches which are exclusively text centered".

3.3 Previous New Testament studies utilising speech act theory

As stated earlier, speech act theory does not provide a first-hand, clear-cut methodology. Each critic, therefore, has to establish his own framework to deal with texts. This present study is not the first-time application of speech act theory to the text of John's Gospel. Therefore, it is necessary and profitable to briefly examine previous studies done by several Johannine scholars, as well as some selected works in the remainder of New Testament scholarship.

Presently, speech act theory is used in a handful of studies in Johannine scholarship. Botha's (1991a) research is the first work to use a speech act approach as its main thrust in the studies on John's Gospel. Botha produces this monograph with two aspects, namely to explore Johannine style from a historical, theoretical, and practical point of view, and to attempt a comprehensive speech act reading of a specific pericope, John 4:1-42. His methodology depends on the concepts of Grice (1975), Searle ([1969] 1980), Leech (1983), Bach and Harnish (1979), Pratt (1977), Lanser (1981), and so forth. His reading demonstrates that speech act theory is indeed a very handy tool in understanding the dynamic communication of the text, with some additional insights which the traditional exegetical methods cannot provide. This approach further offers some important observations regarding Johannine style.42 Furthermore, in a set of two short essays, Botha (1991b) examines the current situation regarding Johannine irony and raises it as an issue. In his subsequent article, Botha (1991c) suggests an additional perspective which speech act theory might offer as a solution to this problematic situation.

In a series of two shorter studies, Saayman (1994, 1995) approaches the episode of Nicodemus from a speech act perspective (John 3:1-21). This poses a serious interpretational problem. He attempts to suggest a solution to the problem: the coherence of this section can be maintained, because Jesus has a definite goal in the conversation with Nicodemus. He argues for this view by applying the concept of macrospeech acts, which organise microspeech acts in the text. His methodology is based on the concepts of Austin ([1962] 1976), Searle ([1969] 1980), Bach and Harnish (1979), Van Dijk (1980, 1981), and so on.

The main subject of Tovey's (1997:15) monograph is concerned with the Johannine point of view. Tovey (1997:30) has a strong interest in the role and activity of the implied author, and utilises speech act theory to determine the implied author's purpose, which can be inferred from the structure of the Gospel. His book does not deal with a specific passage, but analyses the entire Gospel in order to understand the nature and description of its literary speech situation (Tovey 1997:30-31). His methodology mainly depends on Austin (1962), Grice (1975), Searle ([1969] 1980), Pratt (1977) and Lanser (1981). He uses Stanzel's (1984) theoretical (narrative) model instead of Chatman's (1978:30, 52-58).43

The works that utilise speech act theory as part of the research in relation to John's Gospel are the studies of Wendland (1985, 1992) and Tolmie (1995). Wendland's (1985) motivation for writing his book is to explore the best possible approach to the dynamic equivalent translation of the Bible. Since he maintains that "Bible translation is a particular instance of language use in a given speech community" (Wendland 1985:1), the discipline of sociolinguistics appears to contribute mostly to this task. He thus utilises speech act theory as a sociolinguistic method to analyse direct speech or direct discourse of the Bible, for instance, John 4:7-26. In his short essay, Wendland (1992) also examines the Lord's prayer in John 17 from a speech act perspective (as one of his methods). He emphasises the illocutionary and perlocutionary aspects of Jesus' prayer in the process. In his narratological study, Tolmie (1995:98-117) employs speech act theory, especially Bach and Harnish's taxonomy, for the purpose of classifying the verbal acts found in John 13:1-17:26.

As far as the Johannine Epistles are concerned, in his monograph Neufeld (1994) construes the Christological confessions and ethical exhortations in 1 John by employing speech act theory as a new or alternative approach to this text, because the historical contexts do not provide an adequate basis for a satisfactory interpretation (1994:vii, 2). Neufeld (1994:111, 133-136) argues that the author of 1 John created a specific speech act circumstance so that what the author claimed and wanted to convey to the readers might catch the attention of, and be welcomed by the readers. The author's speech acts had a "rhetorical power to transform the readers' expectations, speech and conduct" (Neufeld 1994:133). His methodological proposal is based on Austin ([1962] 1976) and Evans (1963) in discussion with Derrida (1977a, 1977b). Turning to the Revelation, Thompson (1992) investigates the relationship between the interpretation, and the language and context of this book through 'speech-acts criticism' developed by Skinner (1970).

In the synoptic studies, Thiselton (1970) introduces some facets of speech act theory in his analysis of the parables of Jesus, such as the parable of the Unjust Steward (Lk 16:1-13; cf. also Thiselton 1994).

Du Plessis' (1985) unpublished doctoral dissertation also investigates the textual communication of the relation between sender, parable and receiver in selected synoptic parables, making use mainly of Leech's pragmatic approach. His work proves the usefulness of the notion of Leech's Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics in the communication analysis.44Furthermore, Du Plessis (1988) analyses Luke 12:35-48 from the same speech act perspective, but he focuses more on the concept of implicature to examine Peter's question and Jesus' answer to it. In his short essay, Combrink (1988) theoretically discusses a speech act approach for the purpose of arriving at a responsible reading of biblical texts. His discussion is made in relation to the interpretation of Luke 12:35-48. Cook's (1995) monograph deals with the (macro-) structure and persuasive power of the Gospel of Mark from a perspective of linguistic criticism and speech act theory. Among the methods he employs, his use of the notion of macrospeech act (governing speech act) is very significant in elucidating the Gospel text as a whole, because the understanding of an entire text as a governing speech act sums up the smaller speech acts that make up the whole of the text (Cook 1995:7, 331 -333). Unique is his linguistic outline of Mark which is delineated according to its communication frames and several narrative markers (Cook 1995:137-179). Upton (2006) also makes an interesting speech act reading of the three major endings of the Gospel of Mark, comparing them with Xenophon's fictional tale.

As far as New Testament research is concerned, after having studied under Austin, Evans contends that modern theology needs a new logic that deals with non-propositional language, because "God's self-revelation is a self-involving activity ('His Word is claim and promise, gift and demand'), and man's religious language is also a self-involving verbal activity ('obedient, thankful confession and prayer')" (Evans 1963:14; cf. also Briggs 2001a). In order to verify his contention, he employs Austin's theory of performative language to examine the biblical conception of creation, dealing also with its New Testament ideas.

For the introduction of speech act theory or its theoretical discussions for New Testament studies, in his series of two articles, Botha (1991d, 1991e) aims to outline some basic principles of this theory and to explore some possible contributions, which this theory can offer to New Testament exegesis. In his short essay, Botha (1991f) also discusses the issue of style in New Testament research in relation to this theory. More recently, Botha (2007) introduced the overall trends of how biblical scholars employ this theory. In this instance, I should also note that Semeia 41 (1988) devotes an entire issue to the examination of the relationship between speech act theory and biblical criticism.45 It suggests potential contributions and possible problems when this theory is applied to biblical hermeneutics. Examples of this approach are taken from the Old Testament. This volume includes short essays by, for instance, White, Hancher, Patte and Buss (cf. also Thiselton's works 1974, 1980).

Among the New Testament works, written in languages other than English, which utilise speech act theory, the following studies are worth considering: Aurelio (1977), Arens (1982), Snyman (1983) and Jacobs (1985).

3.4 Contributions and approach of the study

3.4.1 Contributions to be made by the study

From the above brief survey, I wish to make some significant observations with reference to this present study. Firstly, in the field of Johannine scholarship, particularly in research on John's Gospel, nine out of ten studies (including this study) that use this approach worldwide appear to have been made in South Africa or the Southern Africa region (one exception is Tovey's work). As far as the remaining works in New Testament scholarship are concerned, Du Plessis, Combrink, Snyman and Jacobs are also South African. Indeed, linguistic approaches are a strong feature of South African scholarship. It is hoped that this study, conducted primarily in South Africa, will make a small contribution to the scholarship.

Secondly, in the 1980s, speech act analysts tended to utilise speech act theory as "speech act exegesis" (Patte 1988:99-101) to make a detailed analysis or to analyse small segments of biblical texts.46 It may be coincidence, but the 'trend' of speech act analysis in New Testament studies in the 1990s seems to place more emphasis on the macro-level or macrospeech acts of biblical texts.47 Although this present study also utilises the notion of macrospeech acts to understand the text as a whole, I am equally interested in the analysis of the text in great detail where the dynamics of human communication is portrayed. The interactions between characters in the micro-level often display an intriguing human drama through their individual utterances with intentions, emotions and subtle nuances. This is true of John's Gospel, which is often described as a document of conflict between light and darkness, belief and unbelief. It is my contention that speech act theory is one of the best ways among modern literary methods to approach a narrative story such as John 9. Therefore, the aim of this study is to continue to demonstrate the validity of this approach and to develop it further by reclaiming its value for a detailed analysis of biblical texts (cf. Combrink 1988:194; Botha 1991f:81-82). To my knowledge, John 9 has never been elucidated as such previously.

Thirdly, with reference to the attempt to utilise historical and literary approaches simultaneously, as indicated earlier (cf. section 2 in Chapter 1), this present study also seeks to join this attempt to a moderate degree, because my speech act approach does not reject historical research; rather, it respects and uses the results of such an endeavour, and because this approach does not seek to establish a combined method vigorously from the two. One of the aims in this study is, rather, to determine whether or not this speech act approach brings the same kind of result in the interpretation of John's Gospel, especially John 9, as that of other historical approaches such as Martyn's thesis. My attempt is, therefore, not as strong as that of Stibbe (1992), but it goes beyond the boundary of the text-immanent approach. More clarification is required in this instance.

It seems that there may be two ways, from a perspective of literary approaches, to attempt to show a harmonious relationship in which literary and historical approaches can complement each other in the text analysis. One is that a literary critic consciously uses historical contexts suggested from the results of historical research for the interpretation of a given text (Stibbe 1993b:6). Stibbe's works are good examples of this (e.g., Stibbe 1992, 1993a:106-109, 112). The second way is that, after a careful literary analysis, a critic can suggest a possible real-world situation. Kingsbury (1988:459) states:

[O]ne of the principal contributions narrative criticism can make to Gospel studies is perhaps elementary but crucial: to alert the interpreter both to the literary existence of the 'world of the story' and to the importance of scrutinizing it. Once one fully understands the 'world of the story', one can then move to a reconstruction of the 'world of the evangelist'.

The reason for this is that the main object of literary approaches is the text itself (Culpepper 1983:5), and literary approaches operate on the following basic premises. Gros Louis (1982:14) points out that, while "we are certainly aware of the findings of biblical scholarship, we do not seek to explain any aspects of the text with the help of extraliterary information". De Boer (1992:38) reaffirms this, stating that a literary approach "cannot allow its practitioners to go beyond or outside of the text". That is why these approaches are called text-immanent approaches. Viewed from these criteria, my speech act approach goes beyond the boundaries of these approaches. However, I do not intend to reconstruct history through a 'window' of the text. However, after its completion, literary analysis can suggest and point to a real world behind the text (e.g., Kingsbury 1986). De Boer (1992:41) contends: "The method [of narrative criticism] itself, of course, is ahistorical, but its results ... can be fruitfully applied in historical-critical endeavors and exercises, particularly when ... the focus remains on the finished form of the document". In this sense, it can be said that literary approaches may complement historical approaches, or vice versa. This is where this particular study resides. Duke (1982:8) also attempts to do this in his last chapter on irony and the Johannine context, with a cautious qualification that "[i]t is dangerous business to move from literary analysis to historical judgment". Thus a critic should not claim, but rather suggest a historical situation.48

Reflecting upon the above views, there is a valid possibility that literary approaches may contribute towards attaining a more complete meaning of the text coupled with the study of historical approaches. Although this study does not hold the optimistic view that one can perfectly reconstruct the original-historical world by fully understanding the 'world of the story', my observation is that text-immanent approaches can at least suggest or identify similarities or parallels between the 'world of the story' and the original-historical world. Harner (1993:v) also supports this view and proposes that such similarities "remind the reader that the narrative world is not a theological abstraction but a reality that has significant points of contacts with the empirical world". In this regard, then, this study may be able to explore the life situation of John's own day, especially an aspect of the Johannine Christians' conflict with the synagogue, by examining the language used in the story. In turn, such scrutiny may help to show a more complete picture of why John recorded his own account of Jesus' life, while making the narratives more alive and interesting.

In conclusion, the method of this study basically follows the second way, but it also takes historical data into consideration in the literary analysis. I shall not attempt to reconstruct the history of the Johannine community in the analysis, but use the results of historical research as aids to interpretation. Culpepper (1983:5, 11) is of the same opinion, but he does not implement this view in his analysis, because his narrative method, unlike that of Stibbe (1992:12), does not necessarily require him to do so (cf. Chapters 7 and 8 in his book). In my opinion, however, speech act theory demands taking historical contexts into account, differing from the so-called traditional text-immanent approaches. Speech act theory 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.49 However, this does not mean that this study also examines the real communication between the author(s) and the real readers. Rather, as indicated earlier, I shall consciously avoid making any claim to the historical context, but rather attempt to elucidate only what the text itself says and indicates. This is why my depiction of the reader will not go beyond the description of the implied reader. I shall consciously attempt not to refer to the historical or original reader. In other words, this study does not endeavour to indicate any relationship between the implied and the real readers in the analysis itself. Reference to the original readers is, in my opinion, a task that can and will be done after a literary analysis, except the case of 9:22.50

Other contributions

In order to better highlight some of the other possible contributions of this study, I wish to compare it with previous studies individually. Firstly, the emphasis of Botha's approach seems to be more on findings about perlocutionary acts in the text than those about illocutionary acts, and Botha (1991a:83) explains the particular reason for this in his book. However, the main thrust of speech act theory lies in the analysis of the illocutionary aspect of the text. Therefore, although the aspect of perlocution can never be neglected, I shall focus relatively more upon the illocutionary aspect of the text.

Secondly, although some scholars (e.g., Saayman 1994, 1995; Cook 1995; Tovey 1997) deploy the notion of macrospeech acts, this study seems to be the first study to explicitly apply the macrorules developed by Van Dijk (1980). These rules can provide a tool to determine and understand a meaning in the macro-level, and show how it is possible to achieve a macrospeech act.

Thirdly, speech act theory appears to be equipped for a better understanding of irony. It is my contention that speech act theory can indeed provide a new tool to account for the nature, use and function of this concept. It is hoped that the analytical outline for ironic speech acts (cf. section 1.6) can prove its usefulness in this study.

This study hopes to offer a good possibility of integrating different methods - narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, and South African discourse analysis - into the main speech act approach in order to develop a more plausible critical approach. After all, all of these small contributions work together to achieve the prime contribution: a detailed elucidation and a fresh appreciation of the story of John 9.

3.4.2 Basic reading scheme

This section delineates the way in which I intend to conduct a speech act analysis. The speech act reading of John 9 (Chapter 4) consists of three sections: introduction, main body and conclusion. Introductory remarks concerning the text of John 9 will be made in the sections 'Introduction' (cf. section 1) and 'Overall structure' (cf. section 2). As the main body, I shall divide the text into seven clusters and examine it/them accordingly (cf. sections 3-9). In each cluster, I shall first introduce specific mutual contextual beliefs, which appear to have a significant bearing as background for the specific cluster. Then, the section on 'An overview and structural analysis chart' will provide an overview as well as a structure of the text based on colon demarcations.

In the next section on 'Microspeech acts', I shall examine the utterances as individual speech acts (microspeech acts) according to the colon demarcations presented in the structural analysis charts. My basic reading scheme in this 'microspeech-acts' analysis will be as follows: A) General analysis; B) Illocutionary act; C) Perlocutionary act; D) Communicative strategy, and E) Summary. General analysis will introduce text mainly concerned with grammatical, syntactical and structural studies as well as with important themes or focal points that should be addressed before proceeding with the analysis in the remaining reading scheme. In the course of this 'General analysis', I wish to deal with such elements as word order, punctuation, the mood of the verb, the so-called performative verbs (Searle [1969] 1980:30; Yule 1996:49-50), syntax (Searle [1979]1981:20), and so forth, implicitly pointing to illocutionary force indicating devices (IFIDs). Although these devices are very helpful in determining illocutionary forces of given utterances, this subsection primarily attempts to better understand the content of the text. Secondly, I shall try to determine illocutionary act for the utterance. One should note that it is crucial to distinguish between its content and its function - indicated by the illocutionary force - when determining an illocutionary act (Searle [1969] 1980:31, [1979] 1981:1, 1985:128). One should also note that the phonological aspect of a biblical text, which sometimes gives clues to identify illocutionary force, cannot be dealt with, as this aspect is fundamentally lost to modern-day readers (Botha 1991a:84). Thirdly, I would also like to examine perlocutionary act. These three analyses should reveal the intention of speakers (e.g., implied author or characters in the text) or the goal of the utterance contained in a specific speech act. The fourth subsection will scrutinise the communicative strategy of the speakers (e.g., the implied author, the narrator and the characters), in order to identify how the speakers organise their speech acts to enhance communication with the hearers (e.g., implied reader or other characters). If the speakers employ any special literary device or technique (e.g., irony or reader victimisation) for effective communication, I shall indicate this in this fourth subsection. Finally, I shall close this 'microspeech-acts' analysis with a summary.

After this reading scheme to be used for microspeech acts, I shall also attempt to analyse macrospeech acts in each cluster. Lastly, in the conclusion (cf. section 1.3 in Chapter 5), I shall analyse macrospeech acts in the entire story to complete this speech act reading of the text.51

 

 

1 Speech act theory is a theory that generates other theories, and it is, therefore, not easy to discern its boundaries and relationships with other similar disciplines. When Botha (1991a) employs speech act theory for his 'experimental' analysis of the pericope of the Samaritan woman in John's Gospel, he does not explicitly distinguish between approaches from speech act theory and those from linguistics (specifically from pragmatics). He treats them under one heading, speech act theory, as his work indicates. Yet it is not altogether exceptional for speech act theory to include such insights from linguistics, for Searle himself utilises some of them in his arguments, especially in those relating to indirect speech acts. Nevertheless, he does so with a cautionary indication that they do not initially belong to speech act theory.
2 In this sense, this study will, to a certain extent, overlap with the results of studies done within this narratological approach (e.g., Resseguie 1982; Holleran 1993a, 1993b).
3 For these aspects, cf. Austin [1962] 1976, 1985; Searle [1969] 1980, 1976, [1979] 1981, 1985; Grice 1975, 1978; Pratt 1977; Bach & Harnish 1979; Van Dijk 1980, 1981; Amante 1981; Leech 1983; Levinson 1983; Stubbs 1983; Kock 1985; Combrink 1988; White 1988; Haverkate 1990; Du Plessis 1991; Botha 1991a, 1991d, 1991e, 2007; Houston 1993; Yule 1993; Neufeld 1994; Cook 1995; Tovey 1997; Briggs 2001a, 2001b; Wolterstorff 2001; Ward 2002; Childs 2005.
4 For an extended discussion of this problem, cf. Levinson 1983:263-283.
5 Botha (1991a:66) rightly observes that "the fact that there is no consensus as to the delineation of different categories or even the number of speech acts must at all times be kept in mind, a flexibility must at all times be observed."
6 However, I may use different taxonomies suggested by other scholars if they suit a certain portion of my analysis better. See Botha's comment above.
7 The mutual belief among the linguistic community presupposes that they are familiar with the language and are able to manage it properly.
8 The mutual belief among the linguistic community presupposes that, when the speaker is saying something to the hearer, "he is doing so with some recognizable illocutionary intent" (Bach & Harnish 1979:7).
9 The mutual belief among the linguistic community presupposes that, if the speaker is saying something literally to the hearer, then he is speaking literally. If it is obvious to the hearer that the speaker could not be speaking literally, the hearer has to seek the non-literal meaning of that utterance.
10 Grice (1978:113) construes this implicature by presenting three possible elements: "what is said, what is conventionally implicated, and what is nonconventionally implicated".
11 Be economical: Make your contribution as informative as is required. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
12 Be sincere. Be true: Do not say what you believe to be false. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
13 Be relevant: "Make your conversational contribution one that will advance the goals either of yourself or of your addressee" (Leech 1983:42).
14 Be perspicuous: Avoid obscurity of expression. Avoid ambiguity. Be brief. Be orderly.
15 For reference, Grice (1975:49) provides four examples of intentional failures.
16 For a more detailed version of this diagram, cf. the Diagram of Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics in Appendix 2.
17 Leech (1983:17) defines sense as "meaning as semantically determined", and force as "meaning as pragmatically, as well as semantically determined".
18 For a more detailed version of this diagram, cf. the Diagram of Interpersonal and Textual Rhetorics in Appendix 2.
19 For reference, propositions are the "semantic structures defining texts, action, and cognition, both at the micro - and the macrolevel" (Van Dijk 1980:16).
20 For these discussions, cf. Muecke [1969] 1980, [1970] 1973; Booth 1974; Amante 1981; Roy 1981; Duke 1982; Culpepper 1983; O'Day 1986; Haverkate 1990; Botha 1991b, 1991c; Abrams 1993, Turner 1996.
21 Cf. Appendix 3 for a short version of this outline.
22 O'Day (1986:25) correctly observes that "signals to irony are often difficult to detect, because the essence of irony is to be indirect". O'Day (1986:26) further states that "any catalogue of signals to irony will always be only suggestive, never a definite list". Therefore, my list is only suggestive, not exhaustive, but hopes to provide a useful guideline.
23 When the items of preliminary steps for identifying ironical utterances are compared with those for verifying steps, there are some overlaps. For example, some contradictions in the preliminary steps (A-ii) correspond to counter factual oppositions in verifying steps (B-iii-1). However, they serve different purposes. The items in the preliminary steps are meant to detect an occurrence of irony, since it is, in fact, not easy to find irony in an actual text. The verifying steps substantiate the occurrence of irony by checking and describing the nature and characteristics of that particular irony. In addition to the above two steps, the identification of irony would be completed with the final step.
24 Some ironical speech act conditions do not apply to situational irony. Muecke ([1969] 1980:42) mentions: "Situational Irony does not imply an ironist but merely 'a condition of affairs' or 'outcome of events' which, we add, is seen and felt to be ironic." In other words, there is generally no speaker in this irony who intentionally makes an ironic utterance. Thus, when this type of irony is analysed, step B-iv) can be omitted from the procedure. In essence, this type of irony is not a case of intentional verbal irony (ironical speech act) with which our speech act analysis is mainly concerned.
25 As far as B-iv-1 is concerned, some conditions which Amante refers to in his article are not mentioned in this outline, because they are either self-evident (such as one of the textual rules: "The Ironic Speech Acts (Ir) is uttered or written as part of some Text" (Amante 1981:81-84) or overlap somehow with other steps (this is the case with some of the propositional content rules within a simplex reversal plot). The outline should not be long and confusing. Therefore, only the reference rules from the propositional content conditions are incorporated into these steps. This general principle is often also applied to the other conditions.
26 Colon analysis is flexible in the sense that the scholar's choice of emphasis, whether considering syntactic or semantic aspects of the text to be more relevant and important to the specific purpose of his study, can be accommodated. This is incidentally attested by the way in which scholars define the term colon. Louw (1982:95), the chief exponent of colon analysis, defines the term colon "quite specifically in terms of syntactic structure". Yet he makes it clear that the ultimate purpose of this analysis is primarily semantic (Louw 1982:95). Louw himself admits that some people may experience some difficulties initially, for example in terms of its superficial discrepancy. Some analysts define the term colon as a syntactical or grammatical unit (e.g., Louw 1982:95; Kruger 1982:2; Black 1987:176; Lemmer 1988:41; Tolmie 1993:403), while others consider it more of a semantic unit (e.g., Riekert 1981:7-10, 1983:29-34; Pelser et al. 1992:i). This is also confirmed by the fact that, although Louw (1982:73-80) and Kruger (1982:4-5) seem to place more importance on (semantic) deep structure in this analysis than on (syntactic) surface structure, Combrink (1979:3), Snyman (1991:87) and Tolmie (1993:403) state that the aim is mainly to analyse the surface structure of a text.
27 When the relationships between cola are discussed, as Tolmie (1992:15) states, "it is important to note that no consistent approach is used by the scholars practising discourse analysis" (for such an example, cf. Neotestamentica 11). Furthermore, consistency in the schematic presentation of an analysis is not always possible (Kruger 1982:2). However, one should at least attempt to do one's best in this respect.
28 For recent developments and discussions of Narrative Criticism, cf., e.g., Resseguie 2005; Merenlahti 2005; Iverson & Skinner 2011; Soulen & Soulen 2011.
29 The term 'discourse' is, as Culpepper (1983:53, footnote 2) points out, frequently used among Johannine scholars to designate a text of monologue and dialogue (e.g., the farewell discourse). The term should, therefore, be used with caution. In this study, I will from now on use the term 'discourse' in the usual senses, such as monologues, unless otherwise specified.
30 For discussions of these terms, cf. Iser 1974; Chatman 1978; Culpepper 1983; Petersen 1984; Du Plessis 1985; Lategan 1985, 1991; Du Rand 1986; Combrink 1988; Van Tilborg 1989; Botha 1990b, 1991a; Lemmer 1991; Van Aarde 1991; Tolmie 1995; Du Plessis 1996; Semeia 48.
31 Staley (1988:43) defines narratees as "the ones to whom narrators address comments"the , and they, like narrator, are optional.
32 In fact, as Staley (1988:13, 43) points out, Culpepper's treatment of the implied reader in relation to the narratee is perplexing. Staley (1988:41) indicates that it is difficult to differentiate implied reader from narratee. Yet he himself tries to establish their differences according to their knowledge at a given moment in the story (Staley 1988:41-45), and "the rhetorical effects of extradiegetic-heterodiegetic narrators and their narratees" (Staley 1988:46). Ultimately, he sees no reason in making a distinction between implied reader and narratee in his "future discussions" (Staley 1988:47; cf. also Koester 1996:7).
33 In this study, the pronouns he/his/him instead of she/her, especially with reference to the implied author and reader, are used for the sake of convenience alone, and indicates no gender prejudice.
34 I often use the term John to denote the implied author. In some instances, John will also be used to designate the Fourth Gospel.
35 See Iser 1974; Rimmon-Kenan [1983] 1994; Culpepper 1983; Resseguie 1982; Staley 1988; Van Tilborg 1989; Botha 1991a; Tolmie 1995; Estes 2008.
36 Botha (1991a:85) states the following in relation to his analysis of the text of John 4: "The amount of information available to the readers at this stage in the narrative must be kept in mind if one is to analyze the speech acts and their perlocutionary effects in the fourth chapter adequately."
37 For its theory and practice, including its related works, cf. Troeltsch [1911] 1931; Edersheim [1967] 1976, [1971] 1981; Jeremias [1969] 1975; Weber 1978; Malina 1981, 1982, 1984, 1996; Meeks 1983; Theissen 1983; Kee 1986; Stambaugh & Balch 1986; Borg [1987] 1991; Mouton & Marais [1988] 1990; Pilch 1988; Craffert 1989; Elliott 1993; Esler 1995; Osiek & Balch 1997; Botha 1999, numerous articles in Biblical Theology Bulletin, and Semeia 35 (1986) and Semeia 37 (1986).
38 Cf. Botha 1999:2-4 for the contrasts he points out.
39 To name but a few, the social-scientific works which principally deal with the Fourth Gospel are Meeks 1972; Woll 1981; Malina 1985, 1994; Domeris 1988; Domeris & Wortley 1988; Rensberger 1988; Karris 1990; Von Wahlde 1995; Van Tilborg 1996, Malina & Rohrbaugh 1998. The recent publication "What is John?", vol. 2 (Segovia 1998) has added several articles to the list (Neyrey 1998; Reinhartz 1998; Rensberger 1998; Schottroff 1998; Segovia 1998). Those works which pay attention to the cultural and social of the Gospel or touch upon some parts of the Gospel text to illustrate theoretical aspects of the criticism in a section of their works are Fiorenza 1983; De Klerk & Schnell 1987; Domeris 1991; Cassidy 1992; Esler 1994; Koester 1995; Robbins 1996, and so forth.
40 For a discussion of the problems of indirect speech acts, cf. also Levinson 1983:263-276.
41 For a more detailed discussion of this relevance theory, cf. Sperber & Wilson 1986; Blakemore 1992; Gutt 1992; Wilson & Sperber 1992; Wilson 1994; Wendland 1996a, 1996b, 1997; Jucker 1997; Carston & Uchida 1998; Clark 2013.
42 See also Botha's (1990a) article which is an abstract from his research.
43 I have already published several articles in relation to speech act analysis on John's Gospel. See Ito 2000a, 2000b, 2000c, 2001a, 2001b, 2003, 2009, and 2013.
44 Cf. also Du Plessis's (1987) article which is derived from this dissertation.
45 On this topic, cf. also Briggs 2001b; Wolterstorff 2001; Ward 2002; Childs 2005.
46 For example, cf. the studies of Snyman 1983; Jacobs 1985; Du Plessis (1985, 1987, 1988); Wendland (1985); Botha (1991a).
47 For instance, cf the works of Saayman 1994, 1995: Neufeld 1994; Cook 1995; Tovey (1997).
48 For a different wave of this new trend, cf. Hakola 2005:33: "The three-world model is an attempt to create a holistic context which makes it possible to utilize and combine different methodological approaches that are mostly kept apart in the study of the New Testament .... The three-world model is based on a distinction among a literary work's text world, symbolic world and the real world behind the text'.
49 For this insight, I am greatly indebted to Rev. C. Saayman, who analyses the text from the same perspective. Cf. Saayman 1994, 1995.
50 For this reason and discussion, see the analysis on this verse in section 6.3.3 in ch 4.
51 To arrive at macrospeech acts, I shall use Van Dijk's notions of macrostructures, as well as macrorules such as Deletion, Selection, Generalization, and Construction Rules (cf. section 1.5).

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License