"Glorify your name ... "names and naming and the discourse of power in the Fourth Gospel in relationship to African names and naming practices.
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The recurrence of the term ovoµa, the names and labels used for the Johannine characters including Jesus, necessitated this investigation. With the hypothesis that the Fourth Gospel is produced in a conflict situation at the back of our minds, we wanted to find out how the 1st century Mediterranean nomenclature functioned in a conflict situation. To properly get into the world of conflict and names we had to employ social-scientific models and onomastic science eclectically. Mary Douglass' social body politic model was used to explain the social pressures on the Johannine community. Bryan Wilson's analysis of the sectarian movements was also appealed to, to describe the community of John. The material likely to have informed and formed the naming traditions from which the author(s) of the Fourth Gospel drew his or her material, that is the, Hellenistic, Hellenistic Jewish, Rabbinic, as well as apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings, were also investigated. Since this thesis is located within the African (Zimbabwean) context, it was imperative to give this thesis an African tinge by teasing similarities between the Johannine and African naming practices. Through the exegesis of John 12:20-50 in the wider context of the Fourth Gospel, we found out that names are used to set boundaries of different communities. The name and label one is given, determines where he or she belongs. No names in John have neutral value. The names that are used for Jesus by his followers, however, are meant to exalt him above everyone else. He is the possessor of the glorified name. His name gives him the same status with God. While other names may show polarity of conflicting parties, his names and labels are inclusive and uniting.