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.
Of course, it is not possible in what follows to analyse the whole semantic network of connections between the miracle stories and their immediate context. However, it can be shown that the miracle stories are narrated as a part of their new context and that both things happen: they interpret their context and they are interpreted by their context. There is no theological or hermeneutical hierarchy that disavows the signs. The miracle tradition has been connected by semantic lines with the context, so that co-ordinated pictures emerge. This is the helpful part of Jan A. du Rands search for the cotexts of the miracles. He assumes that the miracles may be understood in close connection with dialogical or monological discourse texts as intratextual cotexts30 that provide important information for the reader of the signs.
The meaning of the connection of the context by semantic lines can be shown for example in John 2. The catchword shmei=on is the crucial keyword that is repeated immediately in the cleansing of the temple (2,13-22) and the critical notice of the faith of the people in Jerusalem in 2,23-25. Both texts have their own function but that function cannot be determined without paying attention to the entire narrative of the Fourth Gospel. Jesus temple word refers the cleansing of the temple to the passion and the resurrection31. The notice in 2,23-25, on the other hand, precedes the Nicodemus