Power Through Language in First John

Posted: August 17, 2012 in General

In one of his recent articles, Prof. Jan van der Watt once again discusses about the Power of Language in the NT writings. This time it is concerning First John. His article entitled “The Ethics of John’s Gospel through the Power of Language” is one of my favorite articles from his pen. For more details about Prof. Jan go here.

[Jan Gabriël Van der Watt is a Dutch scholar of Biblical texts. He is Hoogleraar (professor and head): Exegesis of the New Testament and Source texts of early Christianity, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands. It was announced on 5 October 2010 that he has been appointed “vice-decaan van de Faculteit der Filosofie, Theologie en Religiewetenschappen.” For a quarter of a century previously, he was professor at the University of Pretoria, where he was named as one of the 100 most influential academic thinkers in the 100 year history of the University of Pretoria, South Africa (see www.up.ac.za under Leading Minds. He is also rated as international acknowledged researcher that is regarded by some of his peers as international leader in his field (see http://www.nrf.ac.za under rated researchers). He is also serving as the General Editor of Review of Biblical Literature] (Wikipedia). As a PhD student of him, I am extremely happy to introduce one of his profound writings.


[Power is often exercised through language. Here it is argued that the author of John utilises different language strategies in order to exert power over and to influence his intended readers. His authority lies in his association with the ethos of the group which he feels he represents. From this position he makes his assumptions and builds his arguments. He also makes use of stereotypes to strengthen the identity of his group and to vilify the opponents who are no longer part of the group. His use of terms like koinōnia [fellowship] or filial language is also a powerful way to build the identity and social reality of his group.]

In order to read the full text, go here: http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS/article/view/1196


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