Rhetoric and Drama in the Johannine Lawsuit Motif
George L. Parsenios explores the legal character of the Gospel of John in the light of classical literature, especially Greek drama. Johannine interpreters have explored with increasing interest both the legal quality and the dramatic quality of the Fourth Gospel, but often do not connect these two approaches. Some interpreters even assume that the one approach excludes the other, and that John is either legal or dramatic, but not both. Legal rhetoric and tragic drama, however, were joined throughout antiquity in a complex pattern of mutual influence. To connect John to drama, therefore, is to connect John to legal rhetoric. Comparison with classical drama and legal rhetoric helps to illuminate the legal sense of the term "seek" in John, especially in the enigmatic comment of Jesus at John 8:50. New insights are also offered regarding the evidentiary character of the signs of Jesus.