What is it about?

Scholars have proposed various reasons for Jesus not having written anything, among them the desire to avoid bibliolatry or worship of a book. This article adds another reason based on a new theory in Linguistics called Relevance Theory, which holds that the words spoken by a speaker or written by an author are insufficient in themselves to convey the person's intended message, but require taking into account numerous contextual and situational factors in order to be properly interpreted.

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Why is it important?

This research highlights the importance of the person-to-person dimension of human communication and the important fact that Christian revelation is not a book, but a Person.


I think that this perspective sheds light on the need to return to what the immediate disciples of Christ understood, i.e. to the Church, as the primary witness to Christ's intended message. It also connects with the view of Revelation as manifesting God's desire for interpersonal communion with each individual as the foundation for our interpersonal communion among ourselves.

Dr Patrick J Duffley
Universite Laval

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A relevance-theoretical perspective on the question of why Jesus never wrote a book, WORD, May 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/00437956.2019.1611526.
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