INTERTEXTUALITY AS A PRAGMATIC FRAME OF REFERENCE IN JESUS’S PARABLES IN SELECTED BIBLICAL VERSES
The theoretical foundation of lexical pragmatics posits that each word in an utterance embodies a range of meanings from which the interpreter is tasked to select the relevant sense which the word conveys in the context of use. However, extracting meaning from Biblical texts may pose a serious challenge to readers because some Biblical discourses, especially parables, are often fortified with metaphorical qualities and cryptic expressions which may be obscure to readers. This paper employs elements of pragmatic intertextuality to explicate Jesus’s parable contained in Matthew 13:33. To achieve this, the study explored the meanings of key expressions in the parables through the application of some macro elements of pragmatic intertexts such as presupposition, speech act, intertextual echo, exegetical intertextuality, and dialogical intertextuality and mapped the meanings through the inferential process of intertext to arrive at the central message of the parable. The data consists of keywords contained in the parables. The study revealed that meanings of expressions in the parables transcend the overt senses conveyed by the lexical items in the immediate semantic net of the utterances but are appended on other Biblical texts. Also, inference processes demonstrated that Jesus utilized the parables to forewarn the Church against infiltration of doctrinal errors through some agencies. Based on these findings, it is concluded that familiarisation with different but related texts in the Bible is crucial to unravelling the full meanings of words in their immediate contexts of use. Otherwise, the correct meaning and interpretation of Biblical parables may be elusive, with the implication that misinterpreted Biblical messages may lead to misleading and unbiblical applications.