The episode at Lystra (Acts 14,7-20a): A rhetorical and semiotic analysis.

Title: The episode at Lystra (Acts 14,7-20a): A rhetorical and semiotic analysis.
Authors: Fournier, Marianne.
Date: 1995
Abstract: The episode at Lystra (Acts of the Apostles 14,7-20a) forms part of Paul's first missionary journey in Asia Minor. In this text, Luke relates the story of Paul's first evangelization of the pagans. The vivid description of this short episode offers an example of methods in words and deeds used to preach the Gospel in the pagan world. Mostly historical and redactional studies have been done on this text. The aim of this thesis is to study the text from an ahistorical or synchronic point of view, following the newer literary methods of rhetorical criticism and semiotics. These methods, each with its particular emphases, point to different aspects of the text. A comparative study of Paul's speech at Lystra with Paul's speech at Antioch shows how new meaning emerges when the text is studied in its context. Questions concerning the origin and function of miracles in Acts as well as their relationship to the word are posed. Chapter one presents the state of the research on the episode at Lystra. Several theological and literary problems are addressed. Textual observations are made on the text. The text is delimited and a literal translation is given alongside the literary translation of the New Revised Standard Version. Chapter two presents a rhetorical analysis of the text based on the literary principles advanced by Albert Vanhoye, Marc Girard and Roland Meynet. The formal analysis follows the methodology developed by Meynet. The analysis addresses the coherence of the literary unit and leads to a first theological interpretation of the meaning of the text. Chapter three presents a semiotic analysis which follows the well-known method of Algirdas J. Greimas as outlined by the Cadir of Lyons, France. Its purpose is to investigate the operations and relationships present in the narrative and to discover the organization of its content. A discursive analysis is followed by a narrative analysis. The two analyses are then integrated and an attempt is made to interpret the results of this study. Chapter four presents a comparison of the two methods of semiotics and rhetorical analysis and discusses their merits and usefulness. The complementarity of the methods is highlighted as certain theological questions and themes are dealt with. This focuses the attention on the main message delivered in this episode. In light of the differences, new insights on the literary and theological questions of the text begin to emerge. Finally, the question of the limitations of the two methods is discussed. Chapter five addresses the significance of the episode at Lystra in the context of the book of Acts, first, in the immediate context of Paul's speech to the Jews at Antioch in chapter thirteen (vv. 16-41); a brief analysis of Paul's speech is done following the rules of ancient rhetoric. Then, the episode is analyzed in its wider context, that is, in reference to the general goal and structure of Acts. Some of the more important literary and theological questions brought to the fore touch the literary unity of the text, the function of the speech (vv. 15-17) and the nature of faith and its relationship to healing/salvation, the manner and outcome of the evangelization done at Lystra.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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