An interaction of theology and literature by means of archetypal criticism, with reference to the characters Jesus, Pilate, Thomas, the Jews, and Peter in the Gospel of John
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This thesis explores the interaction of literature and theology by means of archetypal criticism with specific reference to certain characters in the Gospel of John. Northrop Frye's system of archetypal literary criticism consisting of the four mythoi or archetypes of romance, tragedy, irony and satire, and comedy forms the governing framework and means of exchange between literature and theology. This synchronic interaction is centered on Jesus, an innocent man acting on behalf of others, as romance; Pilate, unable or unwilling to act justly in an unwanted and unavoidable particular circumstance, as tragedy; Thomas and the Jews, variations on the theme of seeing and not seeing as irony; and Peter, who denies Christ and later recovers, as comedy. These characters' function as points of exchange, each reaching their defining literary and theological climax during the crucifixion events. Within the FG's narrative these characters also serve as imaginative points of contact and identification for the reader at which the reader's own faith response may be placed within the literary and theological milieu of the Fourth Gospel. Conceptually, Jesus and romance, Pilate and tragedy, Thomas, the Jews, and irony, and Peter and comedy may be characterized by representation, reduction, negation, and integration, respectively. The variable between these four mythoi and between these characters is the relationship between a belief or an ideal and experience or reality assumed by the work as a whole and/or assumed and displayed by each character.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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