The Significance of John 1:14–18 for Understanding John’s Approach to Law and Ethics

in Review of Rabbinic Judaism
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The paper examines the role and status of Torah in Johannine ethics by examining where Torah first becomes the focus of attention, John 1:14–18. While what precedes in the prologue provides important background and what follows in the rest of the Gospel sheds significant light on the passage, this paper argues that already within 1:14–18, and not just in 1:16b, key parameters are set that inform our understanding of John’s approach to the Law and ethics as a whole.

Review of Rabbinic Judaism

Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (Formerly: The Annual of Rabbinic Judaism)



Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (2 vols; Peabody: Hendrickson, 2005), 1.421; Vahrenhorst, “Johannes und die Tora,” pp. 28–29.


Vahrenhorst, “Johannes und die Tora,” pp. 22–26; Hartwig Thyen, Das Johannesevangelium (hnt 6; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), p. 502. Cf. A.T. Lincoln, The Gospel according to Saint John (bntc 4; London: A&C. Black, 2005); Jürgen Becker, Johanneisches Christentum (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), p. 185.


Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John (SacPag 4; Collegeville: Liturgical, 1998), p. 68; Mary L. Coloe, God Dwells with Us: Temple Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel (Collegeville: Liturgical, 2001), p. 69.


See Loader, “Law and Ethics,” pp. 144–145.


Loader, “Law and Ethics,” p. 152. Pancaro, Law in the Fourth Gospel, does not address 1:17 until pp. 534–537.


See Loader, “Law and Ethics,” pp. 152–153. See Johannes Beutler, “Der Johannes-Prolog—Ouvertüre des Johannesevangeliums,” in Günter Kruck, ed., Der Johannesprolog (Darmstadt: wbg, 2009), pp. 77–106, 95–96, and Thyen, Johannesevangelium, p. 104, who notes that the text also reflects Ben Sira on seeing God (Sir. 43:31) and on Sophia’s tenting among the people (Sir. 24:8) (p. 107).


Coloe, God Dwells with Us, pp. 323–366, 332–334.


See the discussion in Loader, “Law and Ethics,” pp. 146–148.


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