Michael Labahn, «Between Tradition and Literary. Art. The Use of the Miracle Tradition in the Fourth Gospel», Vol. 80 (1999) 178-203
An examination of the miracle stories in the context of the fourth gospel shows that the Evangelist, using different literary techniques, presents his tradition as an important part of his narrative. The Johannine signs are closely linked to the context and by no means subordinate to the other literary genres. By means of the signs basic reactions to the eschatological event of the coming of the Son of God are pointed out. Through the encounter with the revealer represented in the text possible readers are invited to accept him as a pledge for eternal life.
I. Macrostructural Observations
1. Miracle and conflict
The portrait of the revealer in conflict with the world and its leadership is an important aspect of the literary and theological strategy of the narrative of the Fourth Gospel2. This corresponds to the programmatic words of the Logos hymn: "This (sc. the light that shines in the darkness [cf. John 1,5] and that the Baptist reports of [cf. John 1,8]) was the true light, that illuminates each person by coming into the cosmos. He was in the cosmos, and the cosmos was created through him (sc. the Logos [cf. v. 3], which is the true light), but the cosmos did not recognise him. He came into his own domain, but his own people did not accept him" (John 1,9-11).
The performance of the miracles plays an important narrative role in this growing conflict in the narrated world of the gospel3. This conflict is a fundamental aspect of the literary formation of the miracle tradition in the Fourth Gospel. The Sabbath conflict stories (John 5,2-18 and 9,1-41) as well as the self-revelation of Jesus as Gods gift of life to the world (John 6) lead to refusal and conflict. In John 6, this conflict is finally heightened into conflict between the followers of Jesus (John 6,66-71). It is possible that John 6,60-71 mirrors earlier or present controversies about christology within the Johannine community or between the Johannine community and opponents from the outside4. On the narrative level there is more strikingly a pastoral perspective appealing to the reader of the Gospel to believe like Peter (John 6,68)5. Peter gives the correct and