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.
This paper will seek to read the prologue of the Fourth Gospel and its possible pre-Gospel forms in the light of Jewish eschatological expectations of its day and of the Fourth Gospel as a whole. It will do so also in the light of similar motifs appropriated elsewhere among Jewish followers of Jesus. It will address questions such as the extent to which protological use of Wisdom mythology influenced eschatology and how belief that Wisdom manifested itself in Torah and in persons as its agents provided precedent for believers' claims about Jesus in John.
In recent years a consensus has emerged that the Testament of Moses is to be dated in the early first century c.e., at least in its final form, and the primary basis for that consensus is the apparently perfect match between the reference to a ruler ruling for 34 years and the years of the reign of Herod the Great. While acknowledging that much can be explained on that presupposition, I have sought to show that a fit equally as strong as with Herod may be found when chapter 6 is read as alluding to the reign of Alexander Janneus and Alexandra Salome. The figure 34 matches with as much accuracy as one could expect. But much else also matches, including the fact that his sons did reign for shorter periods than their father, unlike Herod’s sons, and that many of the details, including depictions of depravity and assumptions of religious conflict, better match what we know of the reign of Alexander, Alexandra, and their sons.
One of the arguably core concerns of the historical Jesus was to proclaim good news to the poor. This chapter investigates what "good news for the poor" might have meant in the ministry of Jesus, in as much as this is recoverable, and what happened to it in the course of the early decades of Christianity as reflected in the writings of the New Testament. Inevitably such investigation is coloured by contemporary concerns not least because the injustice of world poverty confronts us. The desire for relevance can easily reconstruct a Jesus who addresses such needs in ways that match our ideal strategies and hopes. The chapter aims at entering Jesus's distant and strange world to hear as far as is possible what he was saying, what it might have meant in his setting, and then for those who followed him.