Shorter Reviews and Notices -- Relation Analysis of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Reader-Response Criticism by Philip B. Harner

Article excerpt

Relation Analysis of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Reader-Response Criticism, by Phil B. Harner, The Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, 1993. 182 pp. $59.95. ISBN 08091-3416-0.

"RELATION ANALYSIS" is a method that Harner himself developed. Applied to the Fourth Gospel, it entails a close examination of the network of relationships that exist between its narrative personae (e.g., Jesus, the Father, the disciples, "the Jews"). From the standpoint of reader-response criticism, according to Harner, such relationships constitute the narrative world with which the reader interacts, and which he or she is invited to affirm. Reader-response criticism thus forms the larger methodological horizon within which Harner's relation analysis is conducted. Chapter 1 examines the interrelationships of Father, Son, and Spirit in the Fourth Gospel. Chapter 2 focuses on the Father's relationship with believers, a relationship mediated by the Son. Chapter 3 centers on the community of faith, the relationship of believer to believer, again mediated by Jesus. Chapter 4 deals with the relationship between believers and "the world," a relationship for which Jesus' own ministry is paradigmatic. Chapter 5, finally, examines the relationship between the evangelist and his audience, "the communication of faith," as Harner terms it. …