The Cognitive Origins of John's Unitive and Disunitive Christology'

in Horizons in Biblical Theology
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Abstract

The most distinctive aspect of John's christology is not that it is the highest in the New Testament, or that it is the lowest; that the Son is one with the Father, or subordinate to the Father; that eschatology is present, or futuristic; that Jesus knows what is going to happen, or that he anguishes in pathos; that the signs are embellished, or that they are existentialized. The most distinctive aspect of John's christology is that both parts of these polarities, and others, are held together in dynamic tension within the Johannine narrative. This is the most salient characteristic of John's christology. Not only has it been the primary source of classic christological debates,2 but it has also been the prevalent interest of most modern historical, literary and theological investigations of the Fourth Gospel.3 A primary strategy for addressing John's christological unity and disunity has been to pose a diachronic history of composition involving the conflation of earlier sources and later editions. In other words, John's perplexities can be addressed by assuming multiple sources, authors and contexts of the material's origins. Such approaches are indeed attractive, as several of John's perplexities are addressed through them. However, because conclusive evidence for such sources is itself in doubt, other attempts to understand the origin of these tensions must be explored. They cannot be ignored or simply harmonized away. The above work (Anderson, 1995) identifies four major sources of John's christological unity and disunity, but this essay is concerned with only one of those. Namely, the degree to which John's christological unity and disunity may be attributed to cognitive factors in the thinking and experience of the evangelist.4

The Cognitive Origins of John's Unitive and Disunitive Christology'

in Horizons in Biblical Theology

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