On 5th Aug. 2010, a lecture by Bavand Behpoor titled ‘Performance as Art and Theoretical Framework’ was hold at Howzeh Honari Institute in Shiraz. This was followed in the next day by a workshop, the report of which is accessible on the website. The Persian text of the lecture can be accessed on the corresponding page. The following is an excerpt of the lecture:

Goethe summarizes five philosophical doctrines related to performativity as Faust tries to translate the New Testament into German: ‘In the beginning was the Word . . .’

‘Tis writ, ‘In the beginning was the Word.’

I pause, to wonder what is here inferred.

The Word I cannot set supremely high:

A new translation I will try.

I read, if by the spirit I am taught,

This sense: ‘In the beginning was the Thought.’

This opening I need to weigh again,

Or sense may suffer from a hasty pen.

Does Thought create, and work, and rule the hour?

‘Twere best: ‘In the beginning was the Power.’

Yet, while the pen is urged with willing fingers.

A sense of doubt and hesitancy lingers.

The spirit comes to guide me in my need,

I write ‘In the beginning was the Deed.’

(J.W.Goethe (1976) Faust: Part One (London: Penguin), p.71.)

In short, Faust is trying nominalism, Cartesiansim, Nietzschean philosophy and performativity to make sense of this line in Saint John. His act of translation and scripture is also in itself a reference to the problem of necessity and free will.