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The Christology of the Fourth Gospel

  • David L. Mealand (a1)

Extract

It is clear from John 20.31 that Christology is the central concern of the author of the Fourth Gospel, and this article is an attempt to survey some of the main features of the Christology of the fourth evangelist. When classical Christology was being formulated in the period of the creeds and the great councils the Fourth Gospel played an important, indeed a major role in the debates. If our understanding of that Gospel has now changed and developed, and if classical Christology is constantly being re-examined, those factors only underline the importance of a constant return to and re-evaluation of the original sources in general and the Fourth Gospel in particular.

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page 450 note 1 On the question of patterns of Christology see Fuller, R. H., The Foundations of Mew Testament Christology (London: Lutterworth, 1965) pp. 243248.

page 450 note 2 cf. Hamerton-Kelly, R. G., Pre-exislence, Wisdom, and the Son of Man (Cambridge: CUP 1973) pp. 224228 following Dodd. Also see below.

page 451 note 1 See Bultmann, R., Theology of the New Testament (London: SCM, 1955) II, pp. 4244, but also Käsemann, E., The Testament of Jesus (London: SCM, 1968), pp. 12, 17.

page 453 note 1 Käsemann, , Testament, pp. 26, 70; cf. 66, 73. Käsemann finds here a naïve or unreflected docetism, but this is linked with his view that the gospel was edited by a redactor subsequently. But on the question of composition see Kümmel, W. G., Introduction to the New Testament (London: SCM, rev. ed. 1975), pp. 306317.

page 454 note 1 Higgins, A. J. B., Jesus and the Son of Man (London: Lutterworth, 1964), pp. 163164. But the word play was also possible in Greek: Meeks, W. A., ‘The Man from heaven in Johannine Sectarianism’, J.B.L. 91 (1972), p. 62.

page 454 note 2 So Bultmann, , Theology II, pp. 53, 57, also in The Gospel of John (Oxford: Blackwell, 1971), pp. 580586.

page 455 note 1 For the view that the explicit future eschatology is due to the redactor see Bultmann, , Theology II, pp. 3739 and Käsemann, , Testament, p. 14, cf. pp. 72–3. Against these see Brown, R. E., The Gospel according to John (London: Chapman, 1971), pp. cxvicxxi and Kümmel, , Introduction (1975), pp. 209210.

page 457 note 1 On this see Barrett, C. K., The Gospel according to St. John (London: SPCK, 1956), pp. 146147.

page 457 note 2 ‘Son of Man’ is the correct reading at 9.35. On the question of preference see Martyn, J. L., History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel (New York: Harper, 1968), pp. 120127.

page 458 note 1 See n. 5 above.

page 458 note 2 Note the cautious qualification by Lindars, B. ‘The Son of Man in the Johannine Christology’ in Christ and Spirit in the New Testament ed. Lindars, B. and Smalley, S. S. (C.U.P., 1973), p. 48 n.

page 459 note 1 Hahn, Thus F., The Titles of Jesus in Christology (London: Lutterworth, 1969), P 279.

page 461 note 1 cf. Barrett, C. K., ‘The Father is greater than I …’, in News Testament und Kirche, ed. Cnilka, J. (Vienna: Herder, 1974), pp. 144159.

page 462 note 1 Dodd, C. H., The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (G.U.P., 1960), 276277 (see also 274–5).

page 463 note 1 On the more general question see Brown, R. E., ‘Does the New Testament call Jesus God?T.S., 26, 1965, 545573.

page 464 note 1 On this question see Bultmann, John, 225 n. 3. On the ‘I am’ sayings in general see Brown, John, I 533–8, Conzelmann, H., An Outline of the Theology of the New Testament (London: SCM, 1969) 349352.

page 464 note 2 Details in Barrett, John, 242, 277, Bultmann, John, 368. (One can also find an impressive range of‘I am’ sayings in Bhagavad Gita Ch. 10 passim.)

The Christology of the Fourth Gospel

  • David L. Mealand (a1)

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