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.
an introduction that provides an interpretation to all of them28. In the light of the interpretation given in 2,11 the signs serve to promote faith in Jesus, the Son of God, that leads to true life (cf. 20,30-31). The echo of 1,14 (o( lo/goj ... e)skh/nwsen e)n h(mi=n, kai_ e)qeasa/meqa th_n do/can au)tou=) determines the force of 2,11. Reading 2,11 in the light of 1,14 means that the doxa inherent in the earthly Jesus becomes visible in all his miracles. And the last sign reaches back to it (John 11,4.40). So the macro-structure of the gospel shows that the narrative importance of the miracle stories is not meant to be corrected in favour of other text genres. The doxa of the Son of God that is visible in the signs helps to promote belief, which corresponds to the stated overall plan of the gospel. Both the discourses and monologues as well as the actions of the revealer divide people into believers or non-believers. Both lead up to the conflict and both genres are to be read together and they interpret one another.
B. Semantic Lines and their importance for the Narration of the Signs
The Fourth Gospel is in some ways a masterpiece in its use of internal references that lead the reader to the meaning of its narrated world. The Fourth Evangelist also makes great play with semantic fields and semantic lines. By the term semantic lines I mean intratextual references that function as hermeneutical links. Semantic lines work by taking up slightly revised wordings or by taking up pictures and situations already mentioned by the use of analogous words or word families.
The use of this technique in binding together different parts of the gospel is an indication that the Fourth Gospel is not only composed so that some parts of it were read in the Christian worship, but also so that it could be read as a written document, as a book29.