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Title: When 'farewell' is not 'goodbye' : a rhetorical reading of the farewell discourse, John 13-17
Author: Stube, John Carlson
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2002
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The Farewell Discourse is a unique and climactic portion of John's Gospel which serves as a hinge on which the entire Gospel narrative pivots from Jesus' public ministry to his Passion. Shallow readings of this Discourse often pass over or ignore significant aspects of the text, especially the instruction and preparation Jesus was giving by word and action to make ready his disciples to continue his mission to the world after his departure. Other readings (notably form-critical) see the text as disarranged and therefore not a coherent whole. A thorough analysis employing the elements of Greco-Roman rhetoric has shown that there is a rhetorical dimension to the Discourse which makes sense of the text as a coherent whole. The Farewell Discourse was found to follow a rhetorical arrangement which gives a literary explanation to some assumed form-critical problems such as the ending at 14:31. Not only does this rhetorical structure give appropriate closure and transition with movement from one topic to another, it does so with a chiastic arrangement of the major topics. This thesis demonstrates that assumed disarrangements, repetitions and amplifications that have appeared problematic to other approaches do not detract from, but actually enhance the ability of the text to move and persuade. Rhetorical analysis is thus capable of giving insights into the text that otherwise might be overlooked or ignored. Throughout the Discourse, Jesus' ethos (character) as the divine one who "knows" stands out boldly and his persuasive appeal (logos) to the pathos (emotional response) of the disciples is strong, both as he seeks to move them beyond their present sorrow and distress and as he prepares them to face the future realistically and with confidence. The fourth evangelist thus presents Jesus operating rhetorically (in act as well as speech) and strategically uses Jesus' interaction with his disciples to seek a rhetorical outcome with his readers. This rhetorical approach provides a bridge between literary approaches on the one hand (which can proceed at the expense of taking into account the historical context) and historical critical approaches on the other (which can proceed at the expense of hearing the text speak as text). A rhetorical reading accounts for both literary and historical dimensions of the text. This thesis demonstrates that it is an effective interpretive methodology which elucidates dimensions of the text not adequately accounted for by other approaches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hermeneutics Philosophy Religion