Title page for ETD etd-11072008-105505

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Kok, Jacobus
Email kobuskok@iburst.co.za
URN etd-11072008-105505
Document Title Siekte en gebrokenheid teenoor genesing en restourasie in Johannes (Afrikaans)
Degree PhD
Department New Testament Studies
Advisor Name Title
Prof J G van der Watt Supervisor
  • spiritual healing
  • resurrection
  • signσημετον)
  • transformation interaction
  • transformation agent
  • reorientation
  • restoration
  • healing
  • disorientation
  • healing of an illness
  • Gospel of John
  • crisis
  • lame
  • sickness
  • death
  • curing of disease
  • brokenness
  • blind
  • representation
  • life possibilities
Date 2008-09-04
Availability unrestricted

In this dissertation the healing acts of Jesus in John are investigated against the ancient Mediterranean socio-religious and cultural background in which it realized. All sickness and healing realities realize within a particular socio-cultural context and may differ significantly within different cultures. For example, less than one hundred years ago depression was not diagnosed as an illness and there existed no therapeutic processes for the disease. When one investigates ancient healing narratives which tell of sickness realities almost 2000 years ago, before the dawn of the Western Bio-Medical research system and modernism, one must remember that the sickness realities of that time will differ to a great extent from the modern project‘s sickness realities and its constructs. The researcher must in other words be very sensitive about anachronistic misinterpretations and ethnocentrism - that is, a reductionistic view of sickness (and other) realities through your own worldview. For this reason the term sickness is used as an umbrella term, and a distinction is made between the curing of a disease and the healing of an illness. The word group curing and disease are words that are used in the Western Bio-Medical world, and are also deeply imbedded within the modernistic philosophical worldview. On the other hand the word group healing of an illness is more inclusive in the sense that it is sensitive to sickness realities as experienced and constructed in ancient Mediterranean societies. In the first century ancient Mediterranean temple oriented Judaism for example, a particular disease (like skin disease), unlike today, also had negative socio-religious implications for the afflicted person which sometimes resulted in marginalization and status deconstruction. Turning to John‘s healing narratives it should also be taken into account that his healing acts are presented as σημετα that is, signs which illustrate that Jesus is the Son of God, the source of life (cf. John 20:30-31; 10:32; 6:14). The question to be answered is, in what way does John present the healing narratives in order to illustrate that Jesus is the true source of Life (cf. John 1:4). The thesis is thus developed that John presents sickness realities that closely represent ¯"death”, crisis, disorientation, brokenness and loss of life possibilities within the ancient Mediterranean symbolic universe. John then presents Jesus as the divine transformation Agent, who restores and recreates life possibilities after a transformational interaction with the sick person. It is also argued that John‘s understanding of healing is not to be limited to the traditional Western Biomedical paradigm revolving around the curing of disease but also includes a view of Jesus‘ role as healer and restorer of spiritual brokenness, a tradition which originated in the Old Testament. The narrative regarding the discussion between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is used as an example of a situation in which Jesus offers someone the gift of life and spiritual restoration or healing which resulted in the representation of reality. Lastly it will be argued why the resurrection could be understood as a Johannine σημετον and also be interpreted as the culminating healing act in John‘s Gospel, illustrating that Jesus is the true source of life in abundance (cf. John 1:4; 10:10).

© University of Pretoria 2008

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