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Extra resources for New Readings in John: Literary and Theological Perspectives. Essays from the Scandinavian Conference on the Fourth Gospel
41-42. New Readings in John 38 usually accepted. Apart from the prologue he calculates using four 'Ministry Tours': chs. 1-3; 4-6; 7-10 and 11-21. Notice that Staley includes ch. 21-because it is in print. Notice also that he does not place the caesura between chs. 11 and 12, but between chs. 10 and 11. This has provoked quite a lot of criticism, though for my own part I feel quite convinced by Staley's analysis. 3242 formed the termination of the public activity of Jesus, and that the resurrection of Lazarus was the beginning of the passion narrative.
The other part of the synchronic analysis concerns the narrative genre of John. Stibbe has in mind an examination of the issue on the basis of 'functional structuralism' as proposed by HALLBACK The Gospel of John as Literature 39 V. Propp in his analysis of Russian folk tales. 18 By the term 'context' Stibbe means the socio-historical context of the Gospel and its social function in creating or rather upholding the group identity of the Johannine community. This represents a kind of return to the Sitz im Leben consideration of form history, though disregarding the small tradition units in favour of viewing the Gospel as a narrative whole.
On the other hand, I find that the interpretation of John has not paid sufficient attention to the unpolemical nature of the stories. Normally a story HALLBACK The Gospel of John as Literature 45 evolves through a conflict of opposing narrative programmes: a competition for the same object or a choice between two objects. But in John there is no polemics. There is of course a conflict of interpretation between Jesus and the 'Jews' respecting his person, a choice between belief and disbelief. But this is a conflict at the cognitive level of the narrative; at the pragmatic level there is no opposing programme.