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.
dialogue (3,1-21). The relation between the sign, the revelation of the doxa, and the resulting faith in John 2,1-11 gets an important supplement from the other two pericopes. Pointing to the final aim of Jesus mission, to death and resurrection, the cleansing of the temple draws the readers attention to the overall theme of the sending of the Son. The Son sent into the world by his Father finally returns back to him with a soteriological aim (cf., e.g., 12,24; 14,2-3). The critique in 2,23-25 clearly indicates that not everyone seeing the signs will become a true believer. The miracle as a shmei=on stands for the visibility of the doxa (2,11) that may lead to belief in so far as the person who sees the doxa is led to knowledge about the origin of Jesus, his having been sent from the Father, and the aim to be achieved by his descent into the world. This view is developed by the prologue in John 1 that the implied reader is referred to32. With this interpretation a further semantic line was developed which leads back to the prologue; this line shows that the narrator ties up different texts, insinuating connections by carefully planted clues in order to waken a commensurate understanding. However, the sign can also lead to a misunderstanding and a defective or an unreal belief. The semantic line that the word shmei=on in John 2 opens up shows how belief and signs belong together: only the reader who recognizes that in the signs the doxa becomes apparent is led to belief. The one who understands the miracle only as a miraculous deed does not grasp the theological and christological depth of the semeion.
C. The semantic inventory and the possible growth of the text (John 6)33
There is a change in the meaning of the catchwords in John 6, and we find in recent literature a thorough discussion of whether