Which side of the line? : a study of the characterisation of non-Jewish characters in the Gospel of John
The theme of kpiσιϛ which runs through the gospel has been taken account of in studying the characterisation of "the Jews," but never yet of non-Jewish characters. The method set out covers all the important aspects of characterisation, including both anthropological and rhetorical interests. This method is then applied to the gospel's non-Jewish characters. The Samaritan woman's faith is tentative and hesitating at best; she sees Jesus only as a prophet. Her faith is ambiguous, but not ineffective. The ambiguity in her faith is resolved by the townspeople's. The title Saviour of the World indicates that Jesus has transcended expectations as he inaugurates a new worship which transcends all the old racial and geographical barriers. The pericope of the Greeks is brief, but important, for their arrival signals the coming of Jesus' "hour". At the moment when Jewish rejection of Jesus is becoming complete, a group of Gentiles ask to become part of the redefined people of God. The pericope is, significantly, brief and open-ended. The Johannine Pilate wants to avoid taking a stand for Jesus, and so is forced to take a stand against him. He has the authority simply to drop the charges against Jesus. But he is too afraid of the Jewish leaders to drop the charges, and not sufficiently perceptive or clever to get around the Jewish leaders by more oblique means. More than that, his indecisiveness and fear lead him to become a theomachos. "The Jews" force Pilate to give in by appealing to his patron-client relationship with Caesar. He is outmanoeuvred and shamed by "the Jews", and his actions after the trial are an attempt to salvage some gain from the affair, and revenge his humiliation. While political considerations are not absent from these passages, what is in the forefront is not Roman-Jewish relations but Pilate's reaction to Jesus; where he will take his stand in the kpiσιϛ. Here again the theme of kpiσιϛ appears -1 argue that the theme is relevant to the characterisation of non-Jewish as well as Jewish characters.