This book is a literary study of John’s gospel focusing upon the doubting Thomas story’s role as its climax. The author analyses the Thomas episode in light of the roles played by the characters Jesus encounters throughout the gospel. They serve primarily to reveal how Jesus’ identity as God’s life-giving son is perceived in relation to humanity. For those who believe, he is simultaneously both the cause and the object of faith. In John, “faith” and “life” are inseparable. The life that faith engenders flows from Jesus alone, and the faith achieved by his followers comes only as a result of his causative action. Thomas’ change from unbeliever to believer is the climactic illustration of this idea
The Lector and the Early Christian Audience
William Shiell proposes that the book of Acts was performed orally by a lector in the early church following Greco-Roman rhetorical conventions for recitation and delivery rather than directly read by an audience that was minimally literate. Shiell’s study outlines the function of the lector in Greco-Roman times as a filter through which an audience would receive a text. He describes the conventions for performers’ gestures, facial expressions, and vocal inflections found in material from Greco-Roman literature and art that are mirrored in the book of Acts. He examines how a reading of Acts in this light can fill interpretive gaps left by literary and rhetorical-critical studies that focus on the reading rather than the hearing of biblical texts.