Original Research: Historical Thought and Source Interpretation

Normal, post-normal and new normal: A theology of hope in John 20:1–29

Johnson Thomaskutty
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 4 | a7214 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i4.7214 | © 2022 Johnson Thomaskutty | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 November 2021 | Published: 21 January 2022

About the author(s)

Johnson Thomaskutty, Department of New Testament, The United Theological College, Bengaluru, India; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


This article re-reads John 20:1–29 to foreground the normal, the post-normal and the new normal realities within the Johannine resurrection narrative. The narrator of John demonstrates the normal situational aspects by taking into consideration the setting, characterisation, thematic development, point of view and plot development of the story in closer relationship with the temporal and spatial mechanisms. The ordinary, local and existent realities are expressed to reveal the colourless human experiences in relation to the divine aspects within the narrative framework. The resurrection of Jesus introduces a post-normal situation within the Sitz im Leben Jesu and the Sitz im Leben Kirche. The post-normal situation was introduced by placing the story of Lazarus at a strategic place (Jn 11:1–45) and thereafter by unfolding the essentials such as speed, scope, scale and spontaneity. The unfolding of the divine within the existential human realities created a post-normal situation where the Johannine community had to undergo expulsion and persecution from the side of the dominant structures. The narrator gives the reader a hope about a new normal situation above and beyond the existent struggles of the Johannine community.

Contribution: This article presents a new perspective concerning the normal, the post-normal and the new normal realities and dynamism within John 20:1–29 and suggests a new way forward in interpreting the Fourth Gospel by taking into consideration the existential aspects of the COVID-19 and Omicron pandemic situations. As a contextual and theological interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, this article fits well within the scope of HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies.


normal; post-normal; new normal; John’s Gospel; theology of hope


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