Chapter 4 “And The Word Was God”: John’s Christology and Jesus’s Discourse in Jewish Context

In: Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism
Adele Reinhartz
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This essay examines the verbosity of John’s Jesus. It argues that the Johannine discourses underscore Jesus’ identity as God’s son by showing that he, like God, sets the cosmological processes of creation and salvation in motion through speech. The argument focuses on the selective use of Christological titles, the identification of Jesus with God, and the parallels between Jesus’ activity, as described in John, and the scriptures. Although Second Temple literature also reflects on God’s redemptive activity, it seems that John’s usage is not directly dependent on those sources. Rather, John’s author approaches the Jewish scriptures in the same way as the authors of Second Temple Jewish texts do: as a starting point for messianic and especially eschatological reflection. The role of the voice points to the importance of the words. Further, the intertwined concepts of Jesus’s signs, words, eternal life, and Jesus’s Christological identity as the Son of God, and the promise of eternal life suggests that the Gospel itself—as witness to and record of (some of) Jesus’s signs—is the means through which the Gospel’s audience—its hearers—hear the voice of the Son of God, and in so doing, attain eternal life.

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