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.
Capernaum). This itinerary fits well with 4,46b (the royal official in Capernaum) but disturbs the present context where the real target of the journey of Jesus is Jerusalem with the cleansing of the temple43. Jesus, his mother, his brothers, and his disciples reached Capernaum without staying there for a long time (cf. 2,12).
Probably, there was a source, but a source which the evangelist has woven into his larger cloth. Without depending fully on his tradition, the narrator dissolves the connection between the wine miracle and the healing in order to form an introductory ring composition44. A ring composition is a narrative form that leads the reader, after an introduction through a narrative digression or excursus consisting of an intermediary section, back to the point of departure. This is indicated by repeating words or motifs from the initial passage45. The narrative form of the ring composition in John 2,1 to 4,54 is clearly indicated by the reference back from 4,46a.54 to the introductory passage in 2,1-11:
4,46a }Hlqen ou]n pa/lin ei)j th_n Kana_ th=j Galilai/aj, o!pou e)poi/hsen to_ u!dwr oi]non.
4,54 Tou=to [de_] pa/lin deu/teron shmei=on e)poi/hsen o( 'Ihsou=j e/lqw_n e)k th=j 'Ioudai/aj ei)j th_n Galilai/an.
2,1 Kai/ ... ga/moj e)ge/neto e)n Kana_ th=j Galilai/aj, ...
2,9 ... to_ u#dwr oi]non gegenhme/non ...
2,11 Tau/thn e)poi/hsen a)rxh_n tw=n shmei/wn o( 'Ihsou=j e)n Kana_ th=j Galilai/aj kai_ e)fane/rwsen th_n do/can au)tou= kai_ e)pi/steusan (cf. 4,53) ei)j au)to_n oi( maqhtai_ au)tou=.