Original Research

The selection of narrative information in John 6:1–14 and 22–71: On focalisation

Risimati S. Hobyane
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 45, No 1 | a3126 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v45i1.3126 | © 2024 Risimati S. Hobyane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 February 2024 | Published: 14 May 2024

About the author(s)

Risimati S. Hobyane, Department of Ancient Languages and Text Studies, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The article is part of a series of investigations into the Johannine text, specifically focussing on the performative nature of focalisation. Previous contributions by the researcher posited and illustrated that the construction of a narrative involves a deliberate intention by the author to prompt the reader to take action based on their reading. The present article continues to explore the pragmatic power of the narrative of John 6:1–14 and 22–71, utilising focalisation as an analytical tool. The analysis underscores what the narrative strives to teach, revealing Jesus as the bread of life, crucial for satisfying the hunger of the soul, that is salvation leading to eternal life. The careful selection of narrative materials in this passage aligns with the overarching purpose of the Fourth Gospel, as outlined in 20:30–31, and is deemed to have a performative function towards the reader.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary: The article’s unique contribution lies in demonstrating that traditional exegetical methods, for example, grammatical-historical approach and others, can be supplemented by literary critical methods such as focalisation to expound or extract meaning from biblical narratives. In this article, the field of (traditional) hermeneutics is supplemented by a literary critical approach to get the better of what the text can offer to the reader.


Fourth Gospel; performative; narrative analysis; focalisation; literary artistry.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities


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