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Persons and patterns of faith in St. John’s gospel

Hackett, Bryan Malcolm (1997) Persons and patterns of faith in St. John’s gospel. Masters thesis, Durham University.



St. John tells his readers that his purpose for writing the Gospel is 'in order that you may believe'. This challenges us to investigate how he persuades readers to believe, and what he persuades them to believe. His use of language concentrates on the activities of believing and knowing. His method is to choose to tell the stories of the encounters of individuals and groups with Christ, rather than to make long theological statements. The development of literary criticism has given us an opportunity to examine these stories with an appropriate methodology. Narrative criticism, in particular, has been developed recently on the Gospel of John. Whilst still in its early days, much promising work has already been done. I have used the results of this work to investigate how John uses characters to convey the nature of faith. I have chosen three characters, namely, Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, and the blind man. I draw out the connections between each of them and with other parts of the Gospel, as well as emphasising the distinctiveness of each episode. Through a survey of the plot, the themes, the characters and the various literary devices, I explore how these characters journey in faith, and how at the same time, so does the reader. At the same time, I use the work of Michael Polanyi, the scientist and philosopher of knowledge, as a background framework for a discussion of faith, and against which to measure the thought of John. Polanyi s philosophy has been compared with John, especially for its stress on an indwelling truth, on the personal nature of knowledge, and the participatory and responsive role of the person seeking revelation.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1997
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:45

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