A sense of audience in the gospels

Date
1985-08-30
Authors
Jones, Cleta Mildred Hall
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Abstract

A major concern of biblical investigation in the King James Version centers on differences among the four Gospels: Bible scholars are divided in agreement among offered explanations for these differences. The purpose of this study has been to examine the ever-widening audience of the Gospels, from its original Jewish homogeneity to its heterogeneous universality, with a tagmemic deconstruction matrix, and in so doing find a logical reason for four seemingly divergent points-of-view of Jesus, the subject of the Gospels.

A tool adequate for a rhetorical analysis of the adjustments made in the Gospels for audiences, the tagmemic deconstruction matrix, an adaptation of an inventional heuristic, considers the Gospels as a literary unit whose super-hero, Jesus, can be understood from three different perspectives: the particle which identifies the subject's unique features, the dynamic which defines how much the subject can change without becoming other than it is, and the relative which views the subject in relationship to other similar subjects.

This tagmemic probe has supported the hypothesis that there is a spiraling sense of audience in the Gospels which began with Israel and concludes with the world. These differences in what seemed to be parallel literary structures are in fact audience adjustments, and these variations in audience constitute a process of change from the particular of Judaism to the universality of Christianity. Matthew's particle perspective of Jesus, adapted for a Jewish audience, views Jesus as the Messiah-king and establishes His Jewish identification which ties Matthew to the Old Testament. Mark and Luke, considered together, view Jesus from the dynamic perspective. Mark's adjustment for a Roman audience and Luke's adaptation for a Greek audience extend Matthew's portrayal of Jesus by viewing Him as the suffering Servant and the ideal Man. John's relative perspective of Jesus presents Him as the eternal Word, or God, thus completing the last integral step which links the Old Testament with the rest of the New.

By applying the tagmemic deconstruction matrix to a sense of audience in the Gospels, their differences are reconciled and their perspectives are merged into the universal--a prerequisite for a world-wide religion.

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Language, literature, and linguistics, King James Version, Gospels, Tagmemic deconstruction matrix, Parenting
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