Chapter 15 Jesus—the Divine Bridegroom? John 2–4 and Its Christological Implications

In: Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism
Zimmermann Ruben
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In John 2-4 Jesus is described as a bridegroom by means of narratival (John 2:1-11; 4:1-42) and metaphorical (John 3:28-30) devices. By doing so, the Fourth Gospel draws on the stock metaphor, familiar in Judaism, of the divine-human relationship as a wedding or bridal couple. In this metaphor, God represents the bridegroom, as in the Sinai-wedding, and in later texts, the Messiah functions in this role. This essay engages with Jewish writings (Hebrew Bible, Early Jewish and Rabbinic Writings) to explore the use of bridegroom metaphors in religious thought and seeks to contextualize and understand the use of the bridal imagery in the Fourth Gospel and its Christological implications. Though the Gospel of John is linked closely to the other Jewish traditions, it develops its own idea of the Messiah bridegroom, which I call “metaphorical Christology.”

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