Chapter 3 The Gospel of John as Jewish Messianism: Formative Influences and Neglected Avenues in the History of Scholarship

In: Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism
James F. McGrath
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Messianism is sometimes construed broadly in relation to a wide variety of savior figures, but within the context of Judaism, messianism has a more natural narrow focus on anointed figures – and within early Christianity, the Davidic king in particular. The study of the Gospel of John, however, has tended to veer away from focusing on such matters, often based on the conviction that the Gospel itself does likewise. The case can be made, however, that the exalted status of Jesus in the Gospel of John, as one who embodies the divine presence and power, is attributed to him precisely as messiah in the strict sense of the word. By way of introduction to the subject of the volume as a whole, this study surveys a range of historical examples of scholarly engagement with the intersection or convergence between the Fourth Gospel and Jewish messianism, and combines insights from older scholarship and very recent proposals to offer suggestions on how to do justice to the Christology of John’s Gospel as itself simply another form of first-century Jewish messianism.

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