Search

Revista Studii Teologice

REVISTA FACULTĂŢILOR DE TEOLOGIE DIN PATRIARHIA ROMÂNĂ



JA slide show
 

Despre numirile divine YHWH și Iisus în rostirea SAT (Speech Act Theory). Studii de caz: Lc 4, 16-30; FA 3, 1-10

On the Divine Names Yhwh and Jesus in SAT (Speech Act Theory) utterance. Case studies: Lc 4, 16-30; Acts 3, 1-10

Autor(i): Octavian FLORESCU


The present article is a methodological exercise that analyzes several New Tes-tament texts from a SAT (Speech Act Theory) point of view. The author starts with a preliminary distinction between name and naming, id est between the graphics and the utterance of the divine names, focusing on their oral-auricular feature, which is prevalent in the Old Testament where most of the theophanies are actually theo-rhemata or theo-utterances. The poetical (creative) feature of the word of God, The One who just says and it is done accordingly (Gen 1, 3), is even more obvious when the creative-, redeeming- or life giving act involves the utterance of the divine name, may it be Yhwh or Jesus. Already initiated during Jesus’earthly life, the use of the divine and humane name “Jesus” for the performance of miracles, healings and exorcisms is done both by the apostles and by other disciples of Jesus. Far from being a magical act, the power of the name of Jesus depends altogether on the faith of the believer. A recent attempt to explain scientifically (socio-linguistically) the impact of human communication and thus some events that go beyond human understanding, like the miracles made in Jesus’ name, is the Speech Act Theory, a philosophy of language with practical applications. J.L. Austin, the author of SAT, claims that in order for a speech-act to be fulfilled or “happy”, the performative utterance of the speaker must satisfy three conditions or infelicities: there must exist an accepted conventional procedure having a certain conventional effect, that procedure to inclu-de the uttering of certain words by certain persons in certain circumstances; the particular persons and circumstances in a given case must be appropriate for the invocation of the particular procedure invoked; the procedure must be executed by all participants both correctly and completely.
Austin realized that language and words are not neutral carriers of meaning, but actually have effects and achieve. People can indeed do things with words. All speech is rule-governed behaviour, postulates Searle, Austin’s most famous disciple. The hypothesis of Searle is that speaking a language is engaging in a rule-governed form of behavior or, in other words, talking is performing acts according to rules. This is even more significant if one takes the nature of biblical texts into considerati-on: these texts were not intended to be literary products; they were pragmatic, crea-ted in a real life situation with a view to persuade, to change attitudes, to get people to do things and to act in a specific way. And in the field of pragmatics, SAT is a very useful tool to enable interpreters to focus on the performative aspect of language as well. Speech acts are, in a sense, what makes language work; without speech acts language describes truth and falsity and such but with speech acts language allow us to regulate and modify our reality based on the power of words. Speech act theory allows one to look at language not only as a device for communication but also as an instrument of action. However, we must also emphasize that SAT should not be vie-wed as a comprehensive theory of language which can be used in isolation, and thro-ugh which one can achieve a comprehensive reading and understanding of a particu-lar biblical text. SAT must rather be seen and used for what it is, and what it can contribute to the total analysis of a particular text. It focuses attention on the effects of the use of certain utterances in a specific speech situation. As such its focus is narrow, determined by the markers in the text, and can be used to supplement other exegetical tools to get a better understanding of a communication and eventually of the biblical text.
Since SAT seems to support the so-called dynamic theory of language (“words have power”), it has been successfully applied in biblical exegesis (Evans, Ladrière, Botha, Briggs, Tovey). Evans is the pioneer of SAT method in bibical exegesis with his logic of self involvment, illustrated by God’s performative language in the act of Creation: “Let there be light!”. Unlike the formal logic, with its impartial dihotomy between true and false, Evans’s logic asserts that God did involve and make Himself known to man when he created the world by the power of His Word. By the same token, man involves himself in a relationship to God when he confesses: “God is my Creator!”, and with the whole creation when he names the animals. Ladrière, inspi-red by Evans, focuses on the operational language of liturgy in which he notices three types of perfomativity. For the Belgian philosopher faith is the reception of the Word. And if liturgical language receives from faith its characteristic performativity, then language is itself an echo of the Word. In the celebration it is the Word to which faith allows access that becomes present and operative in our own words. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Insofar as in and by faith we become participants in the mystery of the incarnation, our speech acts, in the liturgy, become the present mainstay of the manifestation of the Word. Thus Ladrière makes a point that reflects itself even in the conclusion of this article. Having learned from such successful at-tempts to “utter” the biblical text as a speech-act, the author of the present article decided to use SAT as an exegetical tool for the analysis of Jesus’ fulfilling prophecy in the synagogue of Nazareth (Lk 4, 16-30) and of the pericope about the healing of the crippled beggar from the gate of the Temple (Acts 3, 1-10).
Jesus’ discourse in the synagogue of Nazareth (Lk 4, 16-30) is a manifest that inaugurates his salvific, universal mission on Earth. It’s a programmatic document, in the opening of Luke’s gospel, which describes Jesus’ preaching in the language of the Septuagint. It is neither a vaticinium ex eventu nor a self-fulfilling prophecy, but a prophecy come true under the “closed” eyes and hearts of Nazarenes. The pericope is ripe with multiple meanings and unanswered questions regarding Jesus’ literacy, the language of the text read in synagogue or Nazarenes’s sudden change of heart aga-inst their neighbour. Luke’s quotation doesn’t follow LXX ad litteram, it rather applies a principle of midrashic exegesis, known as gezerah shavah according to which one word or verse from a certain biblical text can help clarify another. In this case, the common link of Is 61, 1 and Is 58, 6, respectively Is 61, 2, is the word aphesis (“li-berty”). After analyzing many evidences, the author comes to the conclusion that Jesus was reading, in the synagogue of Nazareth, from a Hebrew scroll of Torah. He was currently speaking Aramaic, the common language of Judeea, and He might have a good mastery of Greek, lingua-franca of the Mediteraneean world. Apart from these features, which the author strives to clarify by his abilities, Jesus’ discourse is a piece of speech-act, a cluster of performative utterances that bring words to life and Isaia’s prophecy to fulfillment. SAT sheds also light on the Nazarenes’ puzzling chan-ge of atittude toward Jesus, from sheer admiration to manifest hostility. With regard to this, the author suggests that it was triggered by Jesus’ pronunciation of the Ineffable Name YHWH (present only in the Hebrew text and not in LXX) – a blasphemy for His fellow citizens. However, in Lk 4, 16-30, SAT fails to explain why Jesus could not make any miracle, although all the conditions formulated by Austin for a “happy” outcome seem to be fulfilled.
Speech-Act Theory proves to be a valuable tool when it comes to the biblical exegesis of Acts 3, 1-10. In this particular case all the infelicities stated by Austin are present. First, there’s an accepted conventional procedure having a certain con-ventional effect that includes the uttering of certain words by certain persons in certain circumstances. There was a custom in the Second Temple Judaism to bring a paralytic to the gate of the Temple in order to get blessings and alms, and to pray three times a day (cf. Ps 55, 17; Dn 6, 10). Austin’s second rule (the particular per-sons and circumstances in a given case must be appropriate for the invocation of the particular procedure invoked) is observed through the fact that both Peter and John are apostles invested with authority by Jesus Himself: “He called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” (Lk 9, 1-2). Finally, the third condition (the procedure must be executed by all participants both correctly and completely) is fulfilled by Peter’s performative utterance to the crippled man: “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!” (Acts 3, 6). Since all of Austin’s “infelicities” are cleared “happy” and the paralytic is healed, one can subse-quently assume that the cripple’s healing was due to the convergence of some lingus-tic conventions, social customs or to self-suggestion, and not to the invocation of Jesus’ Holy Name by the apostle. Therefore the author comes with a few examples in support of the latter conclusion: Lk 4, 16-30 (where Jesus can’t do any miracle beca-use of his people lack of faith) and Acts 19, 13 (when the sons of Sceva get a fair chastisment for the magical and unauthorized use of Jesus’ name).
Although SAT seem to be a valid socio-linguistical tool in Acts 3, 1-10, it has some limitations in other cases like Lk 4, 16-30 (cf. Acts 19, 13; Lk 9, 49), where SAT fails even if all the conditions of Austin are fulfilled or “happy” . These limitati-ons of SAT are exposed by the author to show that not the convergence of some external factors (customs, language, oral mimesis, suggestion) accounts for the mira-cle, healing or exorcism, but the unconditional faith in the power of Jesus’ name (Acts 3, 16) the revelead Name of the New Testament, “the Name above every na-me”.

Taguri:
Studiu
Pagini: 159-186