n HTS : Theological Studies - Semiotic behavior in Luke and John




As socio-linguists have demonstrated, communication is a behavior that follows socially generated and commonly understood rules for how messages are to be produced and received. Moreover, this semiotic process constitutes a complex and pervasive mechanism of social control - even if it is not often recognized as such. It is thus possible to ask how meaning is actually created and acknowledged in a given society. Who determines the rules? How are rules maintained, modified or subverted? Such questions focus our attention on who is producing and receiving what types of meaning and whose interests are being served by the way the process itself is constructed. As a case in point, we shall compare the semiotic process in the Lukan and Johannine presentations of Jesus in order to ask what these processes imply for social relations in the communities that produced them.


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