oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - The farewell discourse : an anthropological perspective - research

Volume 2018 Number Special Edition
  • ISSN : 1996-8167



The work of Jerome Neyrey (1988) is a brave attempt to apply the Grid/Group model of the anthropologist Mary Douglas to the Fourth Gospel. Neyrey detects three stages within the history of the Johannine community, which he then plots on the Grid/Group graph as: (1) strong group/low grid, (2) strong group/rising grid, and (3) weak group/low grid. Sections of the Farewell Discourse are located in (2) and (3). This paper is first of all a critical response to the hypothesis of Neyrey. We demonstrate that the model used by Neyrey does not correspond accurately with Douglas’ own writings. This has skewed his analysis of the Johannine community, particularly in its final stage. The paper concludes with an alternative reading which attempts to remain faithful to the actual work of Douglas.

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