Irony in the passion narrative of the fourth gospel
Data do documento1997
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The literary device of irony is an important perspective to grasp the Fourth Gospel. Irony invites the reader from one level of meaning to another, and implies that the world of reality is other than the world of appearance. Irony teaches us that Jesus' kingship completely appears in his humiliated figure.
Compared with the Synoptics, there are many perspectives peculiar to the Fourth Gospel. The fourth evangelist wrote his Gospel in his own way, that is, from an ironical point of view. The reason why he used this literary device was due to his Sitz im Leben: the antagonism between the fourth evangelist's church and the Jews' synagogue. The Jews, especially the Pharisees, had agreed in Jamnia (Jabneh) that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue (9:22, 12:42). Some distinctive perspectives in the Fourth Gospel reflect this urgent situation; the fourth evangelist tried to strengthen his church members' faith, using irony. Irony confirms readers' faith and deepens the Christian community's ties. It also whispers to secret believers to encourage them to confess their faith openly.
This ironical perspective is important for Japan today, too. Though Christians are in the minority in Japan, the kingdom of God has already come to Japan. I hope this small study will encourage Japanese Christians who are struggling against various difficulties.