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.
are followed by dialogue texts and sporadically also by revelatory monologues17. Therefore, it was assumed that the miracle stories provided the basis for the speeches of the revealer.
R. Alan Culpepper directs our attention to the different relationship between narrative and discourse. He speaks of a "progressive conjunction between sign and discourse material"18.
"The first and the second signs (2:1-11 and 4:46-54) are about the length of synoptic miracle stories and not greatly dissimilar from them. The next three miracle stories (5:2-9; 6:2-21; 9:1-7) each have extended discourses attached to them (5:10-16, 17-47; 6:22-65; and 9:8-41). ... With the last sign, the raising of Lazarus, the progressive conjunction of sign and discourse reaches its zenith: the two cannot be separated successfully"19.
One could well agree with the literary observations. Nevertheless, the observations of Culpepper show that the formal sequence of miracle stories and discourse texts does not follow a rigid scheme. Both Sabbath conflict stories (chaps. 5 and 9) stand close to each other; however, the maintenance of a strict formal sequence requires that the shepherd discourse (10,1-18) be a monologue concluding the healing of the man born blind (John 9)20; this monologue then forms a formal parallel to both monological