Festivals, cultural intertextuality, and the Gospel of John’s rhetoric of distance
AbstractImperial and civic-religious festivals pervaded the late first-century city of Ephesus where John’s Gospel was, if not written, at least read or heard. How did Jesus-believers as likely members of somewhat participationist synagogue communities negotiate such pervasive and public celebration of festivals? Did they participate in, ignore, or oppose such festivals? And how might John’s Gospel have encouraged them to respond? This article engages these questions by focusing on the narrative presentation of festivals in John’s Gospel (some 42 times) as, amongst other things, occasions of conflict and condemnation. Employing Sjef van Tilborg’s notion of ‘interference’, which prioritises the Ephesian civic interface of the Gospel’s audience, the article argues that the cultural intertextuality between the Gospel and an Ephesian context destabilises and problematises Ephesian civic festivals and shows there to be fundamental incompatibilities between Jesus’ work and Ephesian society, thereby seeking Jesus-believers to absent themselves from festivals. The Gospel’s presentation of festivals belongs to the gospel’s rhetoric of distance vis-à-vis societal structures.
The author(s) retain copyright on work published by AOSIS unless specified otherwise.
Licensing and publishing rights
Author(s) of work published by AOSIS are required to grant AOSIS the unlimited rights to publish the definitive work in any format, language and medium, for any lawful purpose. AOSIS requires journal authors to publish their work in open access under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.
Read more here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
The authors retain the non-exclusive right to do anything they wish with the published article(s), provided attribution is given to the applicable journal with details of the original publication, as set out in the official citation of the article published in the journal. The retained right specifically includes the right to post the article on the authors’ or their institution’s websites or in institutional repositories.
Previously published work may have been published under a different licence. We advise the community that if they would like to reuse the work to consult the applicable licence at article level.