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.
the mention of Thomas in 11,16 and in the resurrection chapter, John 209, we find another signal for this line of connection that leads from chapter 11 to 20,24-2910. Therefore, the last miracle does not only initiate the trial and death of Jesus, but also indicates that the encounter with Jewish and Roman power will fail in the presence of the mighty revealer who is the true life (cf. John 1,4; 5,26; 11,25).
Although it should not be disputed that historical reminiscences of his communities form the background of the stories used by the Fourth Evangelist in John 5 and 911, the miracle stories are interpreted in the light of a more fundamental and theological principle by the evangelist. The miracle stories in chapters 511 recognise that the work and the message of the revealer are scandalous; they cause offence to the world and even to the circle of the disciples (John 6,61). The reader is asked for a decision in the light of the Johannine characters taking part in these conflict stories (cf. e.g. John 6,67-69; 9,35-41; 11,25-27; see also 5,12-14: the cured man missed the christological point of the sign and did not confess Jesus as his saviour). The reader should believe in the revealer sent by God and in him as the giver of life as it is shown by his mighty deeds.
2. The relationship of the miracle tradition to different genres of text
Once we accept that the Fourth Evangelist uses traditions for narrating his miracles, the question arises as to the relationship