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Abstract This paper assesses the opening five verses of Johns Gospel, a passage rich with theological statements

about the nature of Jesus Christ. It is the argument of this paper that right from his opening, John seeks to present Jesus as the foundation of life for all people, in order that they may know that he is the Christ, and that by believing they may have life (John 19:35, 20:31). By adopting a purposive interpretation, assessing the passage through the lens of the authors purpose, we consider how each statement about Jesus, the divine !"#"$, contributes to Johns underlying intent, concluding that John frames his account of Jesus life for the first century everyman, and that the case for belief in Jesus is based on the statements John makes about Jesus divinity, and his life bringing role before, in, and during creation, and before, in, and after the incarnation.

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Introduction The opening five verses of Johns gospel make perhaps the most significant and direct claims about Jesus identity in the New Testament. Within Johns prologue, they define the theology and message of the gospel, and engage the reader.1 Treatments of the prologue tend to focus either on its underlying form, its structure, 2 its literary message, but rarely all three at once.3 Studies based on form and structure produce valuable observations about the level of deliberation involved in the both the prologue and the gospel, demonstrating that the prologue is a literary masterpiece, tightly arranged and developed with purpose. The prologue is best appreciated as a united text, within the context of a united text. We will interpret the text mindful that John employs deliberate ambiguities, and intricate structures, to paint a vivid literary picture. Attempts to reconcile or resolve these ambiguities as dichotomies result in a monochromatic view of Johns artistry. We will consider the arrangement of the prologue, and verses 1-5 within it, and argue that its complex arrangement is indicative of a single author writing with deliberation and purpose.4 Furthermore we will argue that the most fruitful reading comes in the light of the authors stated purpose. To make this purposive case, we will consider the interpretive context, through questions of genre, author, date, and implied audience as forming the literary context by which we assess the authors intent, alongside the
D.A Carson, The Gospel according to John (Grand Rapids, Eerdman, 1991), 110111, describes the prologue as a foyer to the rest of the Fourth Gospel, simultaneously drawing the reader in and introducing the major themes. 2 For example, see M. Coloe, The Structure of the Johannine Prologue and Genesis 1, Australian Biblical Review, 45 (1997), 40-55, and J. L. Staley, The structure of John's prologue : its implications for the gospel's narrative structure, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 48(2), (1986). 241-264 3 For an example, see S.S. Kim, The literary and theological significance of the Johannine prologue, Bibliotheca sacra, 166(664), (2009), 421-435. 4 Where critical scholars, based on form and style, wanted to cut the prologue loose (cf Bultmann), the Prologues message is so deeply entwined with the message of the gospel that this seems an unwarranted decision made on assumptions arising from questionable methodology. See S.S. Kim, The literary and theological significance of the Johannine prologue, 422, and D.A Carson, The Gospel according to John, 111-112
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internal evidence (John 20:30-31).5 We know John wrote the gospel so that his readers would believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in his name. Speculation is then limited to identifying Johns readers. Does he write to Christians? Or non-Christians? Jews? Greeks? Or Hellenised Jews? We argue that Johns statement of purpose is playfully ambiguous, and the very nature of his gospel leads us to answer yes to each question. Translation & () & !#"$, ./ !#"$ & 1($ 3& 45&, ./ 45$ & !#"$. "3"$ & & () 1($ 3& 45&. 1&3/ 9: /3" #&53", ./ )?($ /3" #&53" "9 & ##"&5& & /3 D? &, ./ D? & 3 G$ 3& &4(1?& ./ 3 G$ & 3 J."3 G/&5:, ./ J."3/ /3 " ./3!/M5&. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with/toward God, and the word was God. He was, in the beginning, from/with God. All things through him were made, and without him was not one thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Greek Source: The Greek New Testament, SBL edition. 6 Translation notes Verses 1-2 The locative dative of time (& ()) places the narrative in the beginning, the imperfect sense of was suggests that the word has been present since/from the beginning. The semantic range of () incorporates the idea of first cause.7
W. Carter, The prologue and John's gospel : function, symbol and the definitive word, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, (39), (1990), 35-58, 35, says the prologue makes no sense without first taking this step. 6 M. W. Holmes, The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (2010) (Jn 1:5), Logos Bible Software. 7 J.P Louw, J. P & E.A Nida, E. A. Vol. 2: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (35). (New York: United Bible societies,
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There are clear allusions in this verse, and in the subsequent verses, to the Genesis creation account.8 John is retelling the creation story with the emphasis on Jesus, who as creator rather than as part of the created order.9 This idea is developed in the next sentence the sense cant be that the word was created in this beginning but rather that the word was with God at this time.10 The sense of 1("$ is difficult to articulate in English and with is a compromise.11 It can be understood as the word being face to face with God, or having a particularly close relationship to him.12 Just how close a relationship this indicates is further developed in the next sentence, the word wasnt just with God, he was God, distinct, but the same.13 The word order of this final sentence, frontending 45"$, emphasises the
1996), 89.16, ()c, $ f: one who or that which constitutes an initial causefirst cause, origin. () 3$ .3J5?$ 3" 45" the origin of what God has created Re 3:14. It is also possible to understand () in Re 3:14 as meaning ruler, also R. Kysar, Christology and controversy: the contributions of the prologue of the gospel of John to New Testament christology and their historical setting, Currents in Theology and Mission, 5(6), (1978), 348-364, 351, the author wants the reader to think of nothing short of that mysterious and supra-temporal first 8 R. B. Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, Review and Expositor, 62(4), (1965). 429439, 430, P. Borgen, Creation, Logos and the Son : observations on John 1:1-18 and 5:17-18, Ex auditu, (1987), 88-97, 88, M. Coloe, The Structure of the Johannine Prologue, 40, 52-54, assumes Johns Gospel is written to address tensions within the first century Christian community, especially with Jewish Christians, so John starts by retelling the Genesis creation account. Also, S.S Kim, Literary and Theological Significance, 428 9 R.B, Brown, The Prologue, 431, G.R Beasley-Murray, John, Word Biblical Commentary, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 10, suggests what is before the beginning is in view. 10 S.S Kim, Literary and Theological Significance, 429 11 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon and the objectification of truth in the prologue of the Fourth Gospel, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 63(2), (2001), 265-286, 268-269, says it is completely inadequate, and the true meaning is determined by the following clauses, For if the Logos is also !"#$%, not #$ !"#$% but !"#$%, the motion of &'#% (#) !"#$) must culminate in a union with God the Creator that results in the Logos participating in God's essence. 12 D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1991), 116117, based on use of 1("$ as with within the New Testament, demonstrates that its translation as with depends on a description of relationship between two parties, P.W Comfort, W.C Hawley, Opening Johns Gospel and Epistles, (Illinois, Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), 18, also S. Voorwinde, John's prologue: beyond some impasses of twentieth-century scholarship, Westminster Theological Journal, 64(1), (2002), 15-44, 32 13 W. Carter, The prologue and John's gospel, 37 best explained not as an adjectival statement ('divine') but as establishing this being as both separate from God, while also guarding against ditheism, S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 30-31 "P("$ 3"& 45"Q& points to Christ's fellowship with the person of the Father; in 45"Q$ R& "Q !"Q#"$ emphasizes Christ's participation in the essence of the divine nature," all agree that the !"#"$ is presented as divine, Whether or not the Word is also to be identified with God will depend on other than grammatical considerations, so the inclusio of verse 18 (discussed below) supports this conclusion. Grammatical arguments from verse one are supportive, but not conclusive, and certainly do not contradict this conclusion.

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divine nature of the word, but translating the sentence as God was the Word would break cadence. The anarthrous 45$ has been used to suggest that Jesus is not a Trinitarian subset of the divine, but rather a separate divine entity. Colwells Rule has long been relied upon to resolve this dilemma, with the implication that the lack of article is not indicative of a lack of definiteness.14 Wallace suggests that the anarthrous noun is better understood as being used in a qualitative sense.15 The lack of article is a deliberate choice on Johns part,16 and is necessary to avoid a modal view of the relationship.17 The repetition of key terms & () and 1($ 3& 45& emphasise and clarify the statement from verse one, reinforcing the idea that the !"#"$ was not created, but involved in creation with God. Verses 3-4 The word order of the first clause, verse three suggests that the relationship between all things, and the word is significant, then the repetition of the verb #:&"S/: (#&53" and ##"&5&) puts the act and outcomes of the creating,18 and its relationship to the word, at front and centre. The verbal idea of & is contrasted with #&53", in that the in the beginning the word was, while creation became. Indeed, creation owes its existence to the
E.C Colwell, A definite rule for use of the article in the Greek New Testament, Journal of Biblical Literature, 52, (1933), 12-21 establishes Colwells Rule as "In sentences in which the copula is expressed, a definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb," at 20 he suggests context determines definiteness, at 21 he rules out the idea that it can be treated as qualitative rather than definite. 15 D. B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 256-63. 16 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 30, Johns word choice is deliberately open,Hence no amount of grammatical discussion will satisfactorily remove the ambiguity of the statement in question. D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, 117, There are Greek words purpose built for expressing alternative meanings to the common English rendering of the phrase, had John simply been emphasising the divinity of Jesus he could have chosen the word divine. 17 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 30, It would be pure Sabellianism to say 'The Word was #$ !"#$%.' No idea of inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression, which simply affirms the true deity of the Word. D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, 117, had John included the article, not only would this modal view occur, but it would also contradict the statement that the word was with God, also, the lack of article should not be indicative of an indefinite statement. 18 D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, 118, the switch in tense between these ideas moves from the act of creating to the state of creation.


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active word (1:3),19 as does humanity, for whom the word brings life (1:4).20 The life in view in the prologue, as in the rest of the book, refers to eternal life,21 and the words place in creating life in the beginning acts is a guarantee for this offer.22 This verse makes simultaneous statements about Christology, cosmology, and anthropology.23 Jesus created all, and gives life to all men, not just Israel.24 There is a text critical issue regarding punctuation and the appropriate placement of the relative clause here, which we will discuss below. Verses 4-5 The reference to light is an apparent reference to the Genesis creation account,27 but also to the revelation of truth, from God.28 The phrase And the darkness has not overcome it" as an exposition on Genesis 1-3,29 depicts darkness as primordial chaos (Gen 1:2), and sin.30 It suggests the darkness has an active and intentional role, a combative role,31 consistent with inter-testamental thought (cf. Wisd. of Sol. 7:29-30). 32

R.B. Brown, The Prologue, 431 R.B. Brown, The Prologue, 431-32 21 G. L. Miller, Life and the glory : some reflections on the prologue to John, Brethren Life and Thought, 22(4), (1977), 211-226, 222, also understood that way in the Orthodox tradition, see T. Stylianopoulos, Jesus Christ The Life of the World, Ecumenical Review, 35(4), (1983), 364370, 366-367 22 S.S Kim, Literary and Theological Significance, 429, Kim notes a possible relationship to the Psalms In joining these significant concepts of life and light, John may have had Psalm 36:9 in mind. "For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. 23 T. Stylianopoulos, Jesus Christ The Life of the World, 366, H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 283, suggests #&53" here expresses cosmological activities, where later in the prologue it is used to express historical events on earth concluding that the scope of the prologue (with verse 3 playing a part) is all the previous activities and interactions of the Logos in creation and in history. 24 P. Borgen, Creation, Logos and the Son, 95 27 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 271, S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 32, This is discussed at some length below. 28 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 271 29 Johns emphasis on creation is discussed at length below. 30 J. G. Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel: The Historical Jesus Introducing Divine Grace, Westminster Theological Journal, 57(2), (1995), 311-332, 319 31 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 274, suggests the sense is that darkness is both a state, and a power, J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 323, This ongoing conflict demonstrates that life and light were around before incarnation. 32 R.B. Brown, The Prologue, 433, The blackness which the light encounters is not merely passive. If it could succeed, it would overpower and defeat the light, which it understands only as an invader into its own domain.
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./3!/M5& could mean either overcome or understand, and possibly both.33 Overcome seems the best reading in the context of, and comparison with, 12:35 and 16:33.34 The inability of the darkness to overcome the light is presented in the aorist indicative. There is a juxtaposition of verbal ideas in the switch from the aorist to the present (G/&5:), 35 this may be to show the permanent continuity of the work of the !"#"$, 36 a reference to the antecedent idea where the light began shining at creation and still shines in the present, 37 or a movement in the narrative from matters of the past, to the post-incarnation state of affairs.38 Two options for interpretation are open for the aorist, either it refers to a particular event in the past, where the darkness attempted to overcome the light and failed,39 or represents a continuous battle where the triumph of the light is a single fact.40 The first option seems to require that the present sense of the light shining include the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the word. The second speaks to the truth that God has always been in control, with the word always providing light and life, emphasising this was the case before the incarnation.41 Some hesitate at
A. J. Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle Location 1115, suggests both the primary and secondary meanings are in play depending on the readers perspective. 34 A. J. Kostenberger, Translating Johns Gospel: Challenges and Opportunities, The Challenge of Bible Translation. In Honor of Ronald Youngblood, ed. Glen G. Scorgie, Mark L. Strauss, and Steven Voth, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2003) retrieved online 27 October 2011, http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/pdf/Translating%20John.pdf, 6 35 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 272, is perplexed by the verbal change 36 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 272 37 J. G. Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of John's Gospel, : The Historical Jesus Introducing Divine Grace, Westminster Theological Journal, 57(2), (1995), 311-332, 322, The reference could just as well be to the period starting with creation, which is mentioned in the directly preceding context. It can be argued that the Logos created (v. 3), that life was in him, and that this life was the light of the world (v. 4). The light has not been hidden away, but has shone out since creation, when, as the context affirms, the Logos already had life in him. 38 Given our preference for allowing deliberate ambiguities to sit unresolved we will suggest the force of the present is to achieve both ends, G.R Beasley-Murray, John, 11 suggests the switch is unexpected and embraces both history, and the present the light shone at creation, and amongst mankind, and continues to shine in the present (both at the incarnation and at the time of writing, and reading), J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 319, Verses 1:1-5 focus on the period between creation and incarnation. In 1:4-5 attention is shifted to "life" as the "light" of the world, which implies further involvement in creation. Although some interpreters find a reference to the incarnation in *+,$)", (v. 5), we would argue that these verses still refer to the -#$.#% +$/+'0#% P.W Comfort, W.C Hawley, Opening Johns Gospel and Epistles, (Illinois, Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), 15, suggests the force of the present is to point to the incarnation. 39 R.B, Brown, The Prologue, 432 40 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 275 41 D.A Carson, The Gospel According to John, 118-119, suggests verse 5 is a masterpiece of planned ambiguity describing both the pre-incarnate state of affairs, and the significance of the incarnation, depending on the background and presuppositions of the reader, it is possible John, subtle writer that he is, wants his readers to see in the Word both the light of creation and the light of the redemption the Word brings in his incarnation,also H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros
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identifying allusions to the incarnation in these verses,42 but the ambiguities and secondary meanings are immediately fleshed out in subsequent verses, so the reader is not left guessing. The significance of the incarnation is explained by the eternal existence, nature, and work of the !"#"$ throughout history.43 Textual Criticism There are no textual variants in this passage. There are, however, text critical issues involving punctuation.44 The lack of punctuation in original manuscripts has resulted in debate over the transition between verses three and four, in particular the placement of the relative clause "9 & ##"&5&.45 Placing this phrase at the end of verse three, in the perfect, extends the work of the !"#"$ from creation through to the present. 46 The variant translation would read: All things through him were made, and without him was not one thing made. What has come into being had its life in him, and the life was the light of men.47 Beasley-Murray (1999) has argued that this relative clause belongs at the beginning of verse 4, as part of the overlapping structure of ideas, or staircase parallelism,48 employed in the first five verses. 49 He sees this verse
ton Theon, 275, The pronouncement of v. 5a, therefore, "and the light shines in the darkness," can be expressed as the prior and dominant reality. 42 J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 319-322, 330 suggests the burden of proof for such a reading rests with those claiming that verses 4-5 represent the incarnation. A possible argument (322) the words "light and life" are connected to the incarnation elsewhere in the Gospel, from which it might be concluded that it should apply to these verses too. (319) While this is true, it is theologically troublesome to suggest that Jesus was only involved in bringing light and life to man subsequent to his incarnation. (330) The Light which shone during this [pre-incarnational] period had a definite ethical connotation; this is clear from the confrontation with darkness 43 J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 330, In both 1:1-2 and 1:18 there is a description of the relationship between the Father and Son, with a definite preincarnational emphasis 44 The original manuscripts did not contain punctuation marks, and thus, the division of sentences and verses within this passage are a result of interpretation rather than translation. 45 E.L Miller, Salvation-history in the prologue of John: the significance of John 1:3-4, (Leiden, Brill, 1989), 17-18, demonstrates that the less natural reading was the traditional view universally preferred among the earlier fathers and in the Vulgate, but it was dropped in the 4th century 46 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 270 47 G.R Beasley-Murray, John, 1. 48 A.J Kostenberger, John, 20

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operating to distinguish Jesus mediatorial role from a demiurge type view,50 and suggests the early church preferred the variant reading, with the current reading developing in the fourth century as a corrective to the Arian controversy about the creation of the Holy Spirit.51 Kostenberger suggests the common reading is best in keeping with Johns style, and theology. John often begins sentences with & and a demonstrative pronoun (eg 13:35, 15:8), and the sense of verse four, without the clause is later repeated (eg 5:26, 39, 6:53).52 While Kostenberger is right to suggest that the idea makes best sense when tied to the previous statement, it is possible that this is an example of Johns deliberate ambiguity, or wordplay, where John has both Jesus role before and after the incarnation in view,53 and an element in the staircase structure of the passage.54

Historical Context
Author and Date Critical scholarship presuppositionally rejects John as the author of the gospel,55 preferring to treat Johns Gospel, and epistles, as the products of a second century Johannine School.56 Other suggestions identify the author of
G.R Beasley-Murray, John, 2 G.R Beasley-Murray, John, 11 51 G.R Beasley-Murray, John, 2, this view enjoys strong support from the earliest manuscript evidence. 52 A. J. Kostenberger, Translating Johns Gospel: Challenges and Opportunities, 1 53 J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 323-324, in an argument about the burden of proof for claims that 1-5 contain reference to the incarnation Van der Watt describes Millers approach to this text critical issue: Miller reads ..#)") in v. 3c with v. 4 and then maintains that in this combination ..#)"), as the intransitive use of the verb .,$)#3+, (vv. 3c-4"to happen"), refers to the incarnation [it] remains syntactically and semantically a difficult and ambiguous phrase to deal with, which makes it inconclusive as an argument in favor of incarnation. 54 The structure of verses 1-5 is discussed below. 55 It is the sad reality of Biblical scholarship since the emergence of critical scholarship that in order to defend an interpretation of a text based on the purpose of the author, one must first make the case for an author acting with purpose. G.L Borchet, The Fourth Gospel and its Theological Impact, Review and Expositor 78 (1981), 249-258, 251 suggests the change in scholarly opinion was motivated by the view that Johns theological sophistication could not have been a first century development. The critical view is now a begged question, assumed without being adequately demonstrated, and based on a now collapsed scholarly house of cards, form criticism. D.A. Carson, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel: After Dodd, What? R.T. France & David Wenham, eds., Gospel Perspectives, Vol. 2: Studies of History and Tradition in the Four Gospels. (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1981), 83-145, 100-104, Is it possible that the scholarly consensus regarding a school or circle or community, and regarding a long series of editorial steps and of redactional activity, has unwittingly provided a new generation of scholars with several functional non-negotiables which are rarely tested? 56 L. Morris, John, 19-22, G. L. Miller, Life and the glory, 212
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the gospel as Aramaic,57 Essene,58 Egyptian, Hellenistic, or Mesopotamian.59 These alternative views on the authors identity were adopted based on presuppositions about the gospels theology, and anachronistic categories,60 which ran counter to the testimony of both the early church,61 and the text itself (John 21:24-25, 1 John 1:1-4).62 Critical speculation about Johns theology, and interpretive context, and purpose falls away if John the disciple is the author of the gospel.63 Bauckhams (2007, 2008) observations about the role of eyewitness testimony in the development of both written and oral traditions turned the scholarly tide,64 he argued the Johannine school was a scholarly fantasy, and the gospel

57 C.C Torrey, The Aramaic Origin of the Gospel of John, Harvard Theological Review 16 (1923), 305-344 58 J.A Charlesworth, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel According to John, Exploring the Gospel of John: In Honor of D. Moody Smith, ed. R.A Culpepper, and C.C Black, (Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 89, suggests John the Baptist was an Essene. John the Disciple was already held to be a former disciple of John the Baptist, so both were imagined as Essenes. For a response to the allegations that locust eating does one an Essene make, see J.A Kelhoffer, Did John the Baptist Eat Like a Former Essene? Locust Eating in the Ancient Near East and Qumran, Dead Sea Discoveries, Nov 2004, Vol. 11 Issue 3, 293-314, it is more likely that John the Baptist represented, or fulfilled, the role of an Old Testament Prophet, see J.C Hutchison, Was John the Baptist an Essene from Qumran? Bibliotheca Sacra 159 (April-June 2002), 187-200 59 For a summary of developments on this front see G.L Borchet, The Fourth Gospel and its Theological Impact, 250-251 60 C. A, Evans, The implications of eyewitness tradition, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 31(2), (2008), 211-219, 216, suggests form criticism has created an anarchy of method, full of anachronistic categories and anything goes recreations of tradition 61 From the documents of the second century until the 19th century the consensus was that these books were the work of John the apostle, see, for example, Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 11, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.xii.html, or as expressed by M. Silva, Approaching the Fourth Gospel, Criswell Theological Review 3.1 (1988) 17-29, 18 one must recognize that the external evidence attesting to the authorship of John is ancient, clear, and explicit. 62 D.A. Carson, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel, 131, Carson (1981) notes that we are dealing with essentially the same evidence that the early church used to ascribe authorship to John, and it is only modern presuppositions and questionable methodologies that cause questions of authorship, also M. Silva, Approaching the Fourth Gospel, 18 63 D.A. Carson, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel, 130-134 64 R. Bauckham, Eyewitnesses and Critical History: A Response to Jens Schroter and Craig Evans, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 31.2 (2008), 221-235, Bauckham argues that eyewitnesses, despite possible bias, are generally in the position to provide acceptably reliable historical accounts, and that in rejecting form criticism we should recognise that the Gospels depend on eyewitness accounts for accuracy should be considered reliable or trustworthy testimony, also, R. Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History and Theology in the Gospel of John, (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic Group, 2007), 12-15, and C. A Evans, The implications of eyewitness tradition, 215, supports Bauckhams argument, and suggests the apparent eyewitness origins were essential for the receiving of the text as oral communication.

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was written by an eyewitness, named John, who was not the disciple.65 Some have suggested this figure was John Mark, Lazarus, or John the elder.66 However, the internal evidence suggests John was an apostle (1:14, 2:11, 19:35), and one of the twelve, whom Jesus loved(13:23, 19:26-27, 20:2-9, 21:24-25). It is more plausible that the nom-de-plume represents John, son of Zebedee (13:23-24, 18:15-16, 20:2-9, 21), a conclusion based partly his significance throughout the New Testament (Luke 22:8, Acts 1:13, 3-4, 8:14-25, Gal 2:9).67 The similarities in style between the gospel, and the letters ascribed to John in the New Testament must also be considered as indicating a common author,68 who also claims to be an eyewitness (1 John 1:1-4). Johns account does not seem dependent on the synoptic gospels,69 thus he is likely providing his own testimony,70 which suggests a relatively early date.71 All views on the question of authorship require a level of conjecture and no


R. Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History and Theology in the Gospel of John, (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic Group, 2007), 12-15 66 G.L Borchet, The Fourth Gospel and its Theological Impact, 250-251 67 A.J, Kostenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2004), 6-7, also A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective, (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 1999), Kindle Edition, Location 326 68 A.J Kostenberger, John, 17-18, suggests John may even have written 1 John as a correction of false interpretations of his gospel, also W. Carter, The prologue and John's gospel, 36, says the letters provide an interpretive context for the gospels. 69 L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1995), 26, says most scholars consider John to be independent of the synoptics, some that he is so independent that he can not be said to be an eyewitness, though some have suggested he was aware of Mark, see M.E Glasswell, The Relationship Between John and Mark, Journal for Study of the New Testament, 23 (Feb, 1985), 99-115, 109 70 A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle location 686-707, suggests that John was aware of the synoptics but wrote independently to provide his own testimony, We conclude that John was certainly familiar with Synoptic tradition and probably also one or several of the Synoptic Gospels, but that he saw fit not to let them set his agenda. In this sense, then, John wrote independently. 71 L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 27, the later we date John, the more we have to account for the absence of references or dependence on the synoptics. M.E Glasswell, The Relationship Between John and Mark, 101, It may even be accepted that the evangelist is not fundamentally dependent on any other Gospel known to us for such traditions in themselves, so that he is an independent witness to historical tradition and has as much right as any other evangelist to put it in the order he thinks best. M.A Matson, Current Approaches to the Priority of John, Evangel, 25.1, SPRING 2007, 41411-12, Matson suggests possible dependence on John in the synoptic gospels is not definitive in establishing an early date, because the synoptics might be late, but for those holding to an early dating of the synoptics this possible literary dependence will bring the dating of Johns gospel into the middle of the first century.
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view accounts for the evidence better than the view John the disciple wrote this gospel.72 Kostenberger (2005) suggests John writes in response to the destruction of the temple, some time after 70AD.73 Morris (1995) argues that the atmosphere of John, and the issues John broaches (including apparent interactions with the Qumran community) place the gospel in pre-70AD Palestine.74 Arguments for earlier than critically held dating of the Synoptics,75 and Johns lack of dependence on these works, would also convincingly locate Johns gospel some time before 70AD.76 Genre and Purpose Johns gospel is obviously different to the Synoptics,77 but similarly provides a deliberate account of the life of Jesus. Johns narrative is less prosaic, and more artful, than the synoptics. This is marked by his use of deliberate word choices, sometimes to create ambiguities,78 and symbolism,79 this is evident in
L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 24, which is both the traditional view, and the view presented by the text itself. 73 A.J. Kostenberger, The Destruction Of The Second Temple And The Composition Of The Fourth Gospel, Trinj 26ns (2005) 205-242, further he suggests that it is most likely that the gospel is written not immediately after the events of 70AD, in the reign of Domitian, see A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle Location 404, 412 74 L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 29 75 J. Wenham, Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke (Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 230-38, proposes perhaps the earliest limit for dating, suggesting sometime between 57-59, L. Morris, Luke, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Nottingham, IVP, 1973), 29-31, suggests Mark has priority and emerges before 68AD. 76 P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 38(1), (1976), 54-72, 57 suggests Johns content is indicative of an early date. 77 In both style and content, this difference is widely recognised. For example, R. Kysar, Christology and controversy, 357-358, It has long been held that the Fourth Gospel is a literary piece which does not neatly fit that genre known to us through the synoptics. As a narrative proclamation, it is of a somewhat different kind from its colleagues in the canon. Attempts to explain the differences vary, L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 30-32, Some suggest Johns account as a supplement to the synoptics, expanding on some content of Jesus life the writer felt was inadequately treated in those accounts, others have suggested Johns Gospel is a polemic against various emerging theological views of Jesus and the Incarnation, Namely Gnosticism and Docetism, or against those continuing to hold to Judaism. 78 On Johns deliberate ambiguities see S. Hamid-Khani, Revelation and Concealment of Christ, (Tubingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2000), 7, 42-46, 90, 121-122 at 46, Johns style is based on an intricate and playful use of language throughout the work, deliberate ambiguity and wordplay were a common ancient rhetorical device, at 90 that Johns gospel is complex and filled with deliberate ambiguities, at 121, these serve to create two levels of perception explicit and implied, and 122 the enchanting nature of Johns gospel lies in his allusive, complex, and subtle use of language. For specific examples of deliberate ambiguity well noted by scholars (and from outside this current study, which we will argue, contains a potential example), include the character Nicodemus, see G. Renz, Nicodemus: An Ambiguous Disciple? A Narrative Sensitive Investigation, Challenging Perspectives in the Gospel of John, ed J. Lierman, (Tubingden, Mohr
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the prologue. 80 He truly wrote his own book, in his own style, with his own themes.81 The complexity of these themes, and the accessibility of Johns style, leads to the observation that John is a pool in which a child can wade and an elephant can swim.82 Johns unique theology,83 and alternate presentation of Jesus life and teaching,84 and the presupposition theology and literature are at odds with history,85 led to a dismissal of Johns account as unreliable for locating the historical Jesus.86 Some go so far as to suggest John operates on the periphery of the Christian tradition.91 These positions disappeared alongside the

Siebeck, 2006), 255-283, suggests that Nicodemus response to Jesus is deliberately ambiguous so that the performance of the gospel via public reading (its intended use see 281) encourages audience members to identify with Nicodemus and consider how they might respond to the gospels message, the purpose of the gospel whether for encouragement or evangelism is also ambiguous in the Greek, prompting speculation that John left the possibility of both readings open, see M. Silva, Approaching the Fourth Gospel, 20-22, D. Moody Smith, The Theology of the Gospel of John, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995), 120 identifies deliberate ambiguity at play in Johns account of Jesus final breath on the cross These are just some examples of scholarship recognising that John employs word play and deliberate double meanings to create a rich, interacting, picture. 79 P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, 71, so, for example, his presentation of Jesus via the !"#"$ concept, The difference between the Synoptics and John is perhaps better understood by his positing of the logos as a center which immediately places this gospel in a more rarified symbolic atmosphere than that which the Synoptics occupy. 80 S. Hamid-Khani, Revelation and Concealment of Christ, 42, Every thread of his literary tapestry is tied to another thread. Collectively these threads produce the enigmatic, elusive, character of the fourth gospel. 81 D.A. Carson, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel, 129 82 L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 3 83 E. H. Pagels, Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John, Journal of Biblical Literature, 118(3), (1999), 477-496, 478, one example is in Johns presentation of the Kingdom of God, John presents Kingdom of God protologically as opposed to synoptics which speak eschatologically. 84 R. Kysar, Christology and controversy, 358, while John is less interested in presenting history, this does not amount to a disinterest in historical fact, My suggestion, then, is that the fourth evangelist is the least concerned with historical narrative, that his prologue signals the reader that the Christ story he narrates is one that continues beyond the resurrection right up to the reader's own time, and that the Christ of faith affirmed in the prologue is no different from the Jesus of history. 85 L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 35, on the same presupposition applied to literary criticism see A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle location 278, and 522-524, Once the study of the medium (the literary art of the fourth evangelist) has overshadowed the apprehension of the message (Johns desire to lead his readers to faith; 19:35; 20:31), biblical priorities have been reversed Inherent in much of literary criticism is also an illegitimate dichotomy between literature and history. As already mentioned, the literary study of biblical narratives has often become an avenue for avoiding the historical dimensions of the text of Scripture. 86 P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, 57 91 G. L. Miller, Life and the glory, 212-213

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fascination with form criticism,92 and John is now considered to provide a reliable account, complementary to the synoptics. 93 While the gospel is most fruitfully read in light of Johns stated intention (John 20:30-31),94 some seem determined to read the work either disregarding, or in opposition to, this statement of purpose.95 The purpose statement contains another deliberate ambiguity, with a question arising as to whether John writes to encourage the church, or evangelise.97 John is interested in persuading his audience to believe, a verb form he uses 98 times, in the !"#"$, Jesus Christ.99
Largely thanks to a decline in form criticism, and partly due to Bauckhams work on eyewitness testimony, in, for example, R. Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History and Theology in the Gospel of John 93 P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, 57 94 A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle location 284 95 So, for example, R. Kysar, John: The Maverick Gospel, (Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press, 2007, 3rd Edition), 24-29, Kysar suggests the statement of purpose is slightly ambiguous due to an issue with the Greek, and uses this ambiguity as a means to speculate on a completely unrelated purpose based on assumptions about the books efficacy as an evangelistic tool. Also, at 48-50 suggests the gospel serves as an in-house document establishing community identity, taking 20:31 to support this. For a view more in keeping with the statement of purpose see L. Morris, Jesus is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1989), 1, 42, 170-189 Others have suggested John produced a polemic, or wrote to resolve a conflict within the church. Proposed conflicts involve either: a) Jew/Gentile division, R. Kysar, Christology and controversy, 361, There is some reason, therefore, to believe that the unique Christology of the prologue was occasioned by a lively Jewish-Christian controversy. Some suggest this accounts for the perjorative use of The Jews, R.M Grant, The Origin of the Fourth Gospel, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 69, No. 4 (Dec, 1950), 305-322, 320-321, Grant thinks John is a gnostic book, with a negative view of the Jews, who reinterprets the gospel story from beginning to end to fit these two positions. But this use is about religious identity and the identity of the Messiah, rather than race, see J.W Pryor, John: Evangelist of The Covenant People, (London, Darton, Longman and Todd, 1992), 181-184, R. Kysar, John: The Maverick Gospel, 28. Or b) doctrinal conflicts created by docetism, Johns dualistic categories, or emerging heresies, E. H. Pagels, Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John, 479-480, suggests John writes to refute the Gospel of Thomas. 97 Many scholars have struggled to resolve this ambiguity rather than appreciating the dual meaning. S. Hamid-Khani, Revelation and Concealment of Christ, 45, M. Silva, Approaching the Fourth Gospel, 20-22, in his treatment of the ambiguity of the verb 1:J35UR35 in 20:31 opens up the possibility that this dual purpose is deliberate. Johns gospel has initial and lasting value for readers from a variety of backgrounds, P.W Comfort, & W.C Hawley, Opening Johns Gospel and Epistles, 8-9, sees the verb as a present subjunctive interpretation of believe, so suggests the purpose is solely encouragement, A.J, Kostenberger, John, 6-7 suggests any evangelistic impact comes through the equipping of believers, essentially on the basis of ruling out non-Christian readers. 99 L. Morris, Jesus is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John, 170, identifies 98 instances, A. J. Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle Location 1126, suggests his use of belief 98 times with an absence of the corresponding noun faith, means he is aiming to engender the act of believing, E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, Journal for Biblical Literature, 112/3, (1993), 445-457, 447 suggests it is a major emphasis, but only used 55 times, R.A Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel, 98, suggests the narrative arc of Johns gospel, and its plot, serve to bring the reader to a point of belief in the !"#"$ of the prologue
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Implied Readers and Purpose If Johns purpose is to have his audience believe, we now turn to the question of who his audience is. Our first century dating for the gospel a priori rules out the Johannine community approach, and a Gnostic audience.100 We can gain some insight into Johns implied reader through a cautious approach to common worldviews of his time.101 One commonly proposed reader, based largely on our passage (John 1:1-5), is a Hellenistic group familiar with Platonic dualism.102 John employs Platonic language (eg !"#"$, John 1:1), and dualistic categories (eg John 1:4), which makes his work accessible to Greek readers, but to suggest his audience is exclusively Greek fails to account for both the Jewish flavour of the work and the nature of first century Jewish thought.103


R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, trans G.R Beasley-Murray, (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1971), 13 suggested Johns prologue is a Gnostic hymn, but this relies on a late date for the gospel or, a refuted early Gnosticism (which Bultmann advocated with no support from his students), L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 31, Especially in the case of Bultmanns Gnostic hypothesis. Gnosticism is a late development, based in part on Johns gospel. The Nag Hammadi corpus demonstrates this evolutionary sequence, see P. Perkins, John's Gospel and Gnostic Christologies: The Nag Hammadi Evidence, Anglican Theological Review, 11 Mr 1990, Supplement Series, 68-76, 69-71, 73-75, which provides a snapshot of streams of Johannine theology in the process of evolving into full-blown Gnostic mythology, for further support of this view, against Bultmanns theory of pre-Christian Gnosticism see A.H.B Logan, John And The Gnostics: The Significance Of The Apocryphon Of John For The Debate About The Origins Of The Johannine Literature, JSNT 743 (1991),41-69, Johns theology is anti-proto-gnostic in that it addresses the issues Gnosticism raises before Gnosticism raises them, G.L Borchet, The Fourth Gospel and its Theological Impact, 249 suggests the gnostics saw a powerful vehicle for the proclamation of their distorted message in the Gospel of John, L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 18, while the Gnostics used John extensively, it was also the major source used to refute their views. D.A Carson, Recent Literature on the Fourth Gospel 14, It was used as a Gnostic text, but we would argue it was adopted by the Gnostics, rather than written for a Gnostic audience, see also L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 17-18 101 A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle location 739-760, 993, Suggestions range from various Hellenistic sources (Mandaean literature, Hermetic writings) to Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) to Jewish wisdom literature. But as Samuel Sandmel has pointed out so trenchantly, we must beware of parallelomania at 993, we must register an important qualification, the distinction between Johns conceptual background and his desire to contextualize, that is, to communicate his message to his contemporary audience. 102 P. Borgen, The Gospel of John and Hellenism, Exploring the Gospel of John: In Honor of D. Moody Smith, ed. R.A Culpepper, and C.C Black, (Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 98-99 103 P. Borgen, The Gospel of John and Hellenism, 116, suggests John cultivates practices that are Jewish-Christian versions of trends from the Hellenistic world. I would argue that it is more a case of John adopting the language of the world in which he lives to present the gospel. Borgen (117) suggests that the background for Johns dualism is more likely Jewish than Greek. There is no reason that the background should not be both.
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Dualism was not exclusively a Greek category, as evidence from Qumran demonstrates,104 nor !"#"$ an exclusively Platonic word.105Johns use of common first century categories involved radical modification.106 Johns terminology is consistent with a Jewish milieu,107 and it is a fundamentally Jewish book.108 Part of Johns argument and his appeal to his audience, is Christianitys Old Testament heritage.109 Kostenberger (2005) demonstrates the John presents Jesus as supplanting the practices of second temple Judaism.110 John describes Jesus with Jewish titles,111 and presents Jesus as the fulfilment of the Mosaic Law (John 1:17, 5:46).112 Kostenberger


M. Silva, Approaching the Fourth Gospel, 18, Light and Darkness were Qumran concerns. G.L Borchet, The Fourth Gospel and its Theological Impact, 250-251, M.A Matson, Current Approaches to the Priority of John, 10, D. Rensberger, Johaninne Faith and Liberating Community, (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1989), 18-20 suggests this discovery removed, in one fell swoop, decades of Johannine scholarship that was determined to read John against a Greek backdrop. 105 D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel according to John, The Theological Educator, (38), (1988), 85-93, 85-86, !"#"$ is used 325 times in the New Testament, it is also a term used in the Jewish wisdom tradition, see W. Carter, The prologue and John's gospel, 37 106 A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle location 993, 998, Yet even if John used the term Word because it served his purpose of communicating to a Hellenistic (-Jewish) audience, this does not mean that he used the expression in the way in which it was commonly used in the world of his day he filled this expression with a new, different meaning, thus correcting and challenging his readers worldview. Also, L. Mowry, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Background for the Gospel of John, The Biblical Archeologist, XVII, (1954), 78-97, 97 107 We suggest that while J.A Charlesworth, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel According to John, 89-90 presents the Essenes as a significant community in Jesus time and a profound impact on Johns theology, he conducts his survey from the view that John was composed by a second generation Johannine school that had input from previous members of the Essene community. His methodological assumptions are flawed, and his observations of links between the two schools of thought represent the setting of John, rather than formative influences on John, and thus John writes to people who may have Essene concerns and expectations. For an argument that the Old Testament was the common ancestor of both Qumran and John, rather than Qumran being a parent of John, see also R. Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved, 125-136 108 D.A Reed, How Semitic Was John: Rethinking the Hellenistic Background to John 1:1, Anglican Theological Review, 85:4, Fall (2003), 709-726, The prologue ties Jesus to creation (1:15), the law, and the temple. 109 A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle location 760, suggests the Old Testament heritage is evidence for a Jewish reader. However, converts from outside the Judaic fold would likely have been more convinced that this wasnt just a new thing, but that it had some intellectual bona fides. 110 A.J. Kostenberger, The Destruction Of The Second Temple And The Composition Of The Fourth Gospel, Trinj 26ns (2005) 205-242, says John demonstrates that post-temple relationships with God find their basis in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the word tabernacling with the people (John 1:14), and then in the people (14:17). 111 A.J. Kostenberger, Jesus as Rabbi in the Fourth Gospel, Bulletin for Biblical Research 8 (1998): 97-128, 100-102, Jesus is addressed in the narrative only as Rabbi, teacher, and master. 112 M. Silva, Approaching the Fourth Gospel, 27-28
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suggests, on the basis of this content, that Johns primary implied readers are diasporan Jews and Gentiles, conversant with Judaism.113 While Johns themes are very Jewish,114 the prologue also undeniably breathes the air of Greek philosophy and metaphysics.115 Arguments for an exclusive category of reader fail to adequately account for Johns content,116 and the melting pot of first century worldviews,117 From the internal evidence outlined above, Johns implied reader is an idealised everyman of the first century,118 conversant with Greek and Jewish thought.119 Actual readers may be Jewish, or Greek, but whoever reads the gospel as the you (20:31),120 will be presented with the authentic Christian


A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle Location 404, he also allows that the gospels were written for all Christians, at location 426-430. 114 D. Moody Smith, The Theology of the Gospel of John, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995), 9, S. Hamid-Khani, Revelation and Concealment of Christ, Tubingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2000), 407-410 115 D. Moody Smith, The Theology of the Gospel of John, 12, R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, 13 essentially recognised this in his proposal that Johns gospel represented a Gnostic syncretism of Platonism and Judaism. 116 Attempts to separate first century Judaism and Hellenism to create a monocultural implied reader operate on an arbitrary and anachronistic dichotomy, D. Moody Smith, The Theology of the Gospel of John, 10, Judaism and Hellenism are largely culturally inseperable. M.A Matson, Current Approaches to the Priority of John, 12, Matson suggests that rather than being specifically Hellenistic, or Judaic, the background of Johns gospel is potentially a combination of the two, but not possibly exclusively Hellenistic. 117 L. Mowry, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Background for the Gospel of John, 97 118 D.A Carson, Recent Literature on the Fourth Gospel 14, F.J Moloney, Who is the Reader of the in/of Fourth Gospel, Australian Biblical Review, 40 (1992) 20-33, 32-33, S. Hamid-Khani, Revelation and Concealment of Christ, 407-410 suggests much of the complexity of Johns work would miss anybody not familiar with Judaism, and thus he thinks Judaism is the primary background, M.E Glasswell, The Relationship Between John and Mark, 109, suggests it is too simplistic to read the prologue against just one implied reader. 119 L. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 33, some have suggested John was aiming to present an intellectually respectable form of Hellenised Christianity, D.A Carson, Syntactical And Text-Critical Observations On John 20:3031: One More Round On The Purpose Of The Fourth Gospel, JBL 124/4 (2005) 693714, 713, Carson suggests Johns use of terminology common to his era is a form of missiological contextualization, he is communicating the gospel in a manner that those in his setting will understand. This fits with Johns own statement of purpose (John 20:30-31). Identifying the you addressed in this verse is fundamental to making the argument that John is an evangelistic treatise rather than designed to reinforce the beliefs of Christians, this you is capable of being any typical citizen of the first century, P.M Phillips, The Prologue of the Fourth Gospel: A Sequential Reading, Library of New Testament Studies 294 (London: T&T Clark, 2006), 139, Thus, the Christian ultimately sees the identification of Jesus and his message. The Stoic hears a reference to what pervades the universe. The Gnostic finds the text referring to the mediator from the Arche. The Jew is led to reflect on the gift of Torah, God's chief agent, and the role of God's word. The Hellenistic Jew recalls Philo's explorations. The "ultimately incorrect philosopher in downtown Ephesus" finds a reference to Heraclitus. Ultimately all are converted to an understanding of John's Jesus. 120 D.A Carson, Syntactical And Text-Critical Observations, 713,
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message.121 Johns presentation of the gospel engages with first century culture in order to create belief that Jesus is the light and life (John 1:1-5), the !"#"$ personified (John 1:1,15). The gospel originated within the matrix of early Christian gentile mission.122 This does not rule out the gospels capability for fostering belief within the church.123

Literary Context
Studies of Biblical texts on a structural, or literary level are of limited value if they are removed from questions of history and theology,124 but are of some value when considered together. The form and function of the Prologue The prologue plays an integral part in the gospels structure and message,125 functioning as a spoiler for the unfolding narrative.126 The form critical approach identified layers of tradition behind the prologue, either seeing three hymns stitched together (1-5, 10-12, 14-18),127 or since

F.F. Bruce, "The Fourth Gospel in Recent Interpretation," Terminal Letter of the Theological Students' Fellowship (Spring 1958), 2-6, 2, citing C.H Dodd, who says The Evangelist, he [Dodd] concludes, was concerned to commend Christianity to a wide public consisting primarily of devout and thoughtful persons... in the varied and cosmopolitan society of a great Hellenistic city such as Ephesus under the Roman Empire in terms which would be familiar to them. Yet, however much he employed new thought-forms and new terminology to convey the Christian message, it was the authentic Christian message that he conveyed. 122 A.J, Kostenberger, John, 6-7 123 It seems odd to argue, as some have, that because Johns purpose was to encourage believers there was no evangelistic function of the text. We suggest the encouragement comes through reassurance that the message Johns readers have received from him is credible, finding a similar idea expressed in the introduction to 1 John 1 (esp. 1:3) Others noting this similarity have sketched an odd compositional history for the gospel where 1 John was written between the finished work and the prologue, see E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 445-446, 453, who suggests a single author, developing his argument across multiple texts, relatively early in the development of the church 124 A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, Kindle location 278 125 G.R Beasley-Murray, John, 5, it is no mere preface, but rather is a directive, integral to an understanding of the gospel and its themes. 126 The prologue gives readers all the information they need to know about who Jesus is before the narrative unfolds, R.A Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design, (Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1983), X, 87, 89, so, considering the effect the prologue has on the reader of the narrative, the prologue frames the readers understanding of Jesus interactions with characters like Nicodemus (John 3), and the Samaritan woman (John 4), and other dialogues through the unfolding plot. This spoiler view is supported by R. Kysar, Christology and controversy, 358, S.S Kim, Literary and Theological Significance, 435, M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions: a new case for reading the prologue as a hymn, Journal of Biblical Literature, 128(4), (2009), 781-802, 800 127 Comfort & Halwell, Opening John, 15


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Bultmann a redacted Gnostic hymn,128 with editorial interpolations regarding John the Baptist.129 Some dismiss those interpolations when analysing the prologue,130 but John the Baptists role in the prologue seems essential structurally, literarily, and theologically.131 This methodology played down the artistry involved,132 failing to account for intricate manner in which it introduces the work,133 and ignoring the final form of both prologue and book.134 Form critical theories are always the result of speculation,135 and can largely be dismissed through the unity of the text (and its unity with the gospel).136
S. R Valentine, The Johannine Prologue a Microcosm of the Gospel, Evangelical Quarterly, 68:3 (1996), 291-304, provides an overview of approaches to the prologue and suggests the hymn view fails to account for the level of integration between the prologue and the gospel narrative. As noted above, our proposed historical context for gospel, and the Prologue, distances it from Gnosticism. 129 R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John, 13-17, Bultmann sees the hymn functioning as an overture, introducing the reader to the themes of the gospel, he suggested its origins in a hymn of community reflecting on the secret revelation it has received, also M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 793-795, E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 446, suggests that rather than being interpolations, the verses about John the Baptist were the original opening statements of the gospel. 130 C.H Giblin, Two complementary literary structures in John 1:1-18, Journal of Biblical Literature, 104/1, (1985), 87-103 also M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 793-795 131 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 35, [The] John the Baptist references are not interpolations. Not only do vv 6-8 and v. 15 play a seminal role in the entire narrative, they are also intricately interwoven into the matrix of the prologue. They cannot easily be removed without serious damage to its fine literary fabric. From the parabola not only can it be shown that they are parallel, but also that within its thematic flow they stand at significant points of transition. J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 313, supports this position. 132 G.R Beasley-Murray, John, 4, Beasley-Murray highlights the two ways the prologue can be viewed either as a poem fashioned by an intricate process, or as a closely knit composition constructed with consummate artistry. 133 The relationship between the prologue and the gospel is tabulated in Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John. (Grand Rapids, W.B. Eerdmans), 110111 134 M.E Glasswell, The Relationship Between John and Mark, 109, The starting-point [in understanding Johns message] must be the opening of the Gospel. I agree with CK. Barrett in taking the prologue to be redactional and at least framed by the evangelist for its present position. It is essential to the Gospel that follows, which could not exist without it. The prologue would have to look very different if divorced from the Gospel, and I would not agree that nothing needs to follow it. R.A Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel, 89, develops this last statement, suggesting that while the prologue frames the narrative, the prologue also needs the narrative to demonstrate its claims. S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 17, 43, considerations of the final form of the text are of more theological value. 135 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 17 136 S.S Kim, Literary and Theological Significance, 435, Theologically the Prologue introduces the main themes regarding the deity of Jesus that are developed later in the narrative. W. Carter, The prologue and Johns gospel, 35-36, treatments of the Prologue must take its interaction with the rest of the gospel into account, S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 18, 22, prologue is intimately linked to the gospel, the prologue is the seedbed of the gospels teaching, anticipating the major emphases of the work. Brown, The Prologue, 429, Words like life, light, darkness, witness, believe, world, knowledge, flesh, grace, truth, glory have a specific meaning and importance in the Gospel as a whole. The meaning found in the Word (Logos)


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Structure of the Prologue (1:1-18) Johns prologue is an intricate and complex piece of literature, with clear interweaving of themes, but relatively unclear divisions or transitions between elements. Many chiastic structures with various levels of complexity have been proposed for the prologue, from Culpeppers complex ABCDEFGHIHGFEDCBA,137 to simpler ABCDCBA,138 or ABCBA structures.139 Others have identified a structure featuring a sequential series of parallelisms, operating in an ABCDEABCDE pattern.140 Any suggested structure must be determined by exegesis, rather than exegesis being led by structure.143 Voorwinde (2002) proposes a parabolic rather than chiastic structure, where verses 1 and 18 operate as an inclusio, and each idea is developed and significant.144 He also warns against structures that are too reductionistic.145

unfolds in the Gospel as a whole. One of the most exciting ways to study John is to detect in the body of the Gospel the themes introduced in the prologue. 137 Perhaps the most complex chiastic structure was suggested by R. A Culpepper, The Pivot of Johns Prologue, New Testament Studies, 27, (1980), 1-31, which focused the chiastic structure on becoming children of God, Culpeppers structure is cited (and dismissed) in S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 24 138 J. Staley, The Structure of Johns Prologue: Its implications for the Gospels Narrative Structure, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 48, (1986), 241-264, 246, proposes a Chiasm with three steps, and the middle element focusing on the empowerment of believers in vv 12-13, and a movement from negatives to positive in the B and C elements. 139 A.J Kostenberger, John, 21, proposes a simple chiasm: A) vv 1-5 The Words activity in creation. B) vv 6-8 Johns witness concerning the light. C) vv 9-14 the incarnation and privilege of becoming Gods children B) v 15 Johns witness concerning the Words pre-eminence. A) vv 16-18 The final revelation through Jesus Christ. 140 M. Coloe, The Structure of the Johannine Prologue and Genesis 1, 44-46, Proposes a particularly interesting bipartite parallelism where the first part reports, second part announces personal testimony using first person verbs. Introduction (1-2) Story was seen (3-5) paired with 14 by us Was heard (6-8) paired with 15 John cries out Was experienced (9-13) paired with 16-17 we all received. Conclusion (18), also J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 315-316, identifies another proposed parallelism, vv. 1-5 with v. 14, vv. 6-8 with v. 15, vv. 9-11 with v. 16, v. 12a-b with v. 17, vv. 12c-13 with v.18, but suggests it is somewhat arbitrary. 143 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 25, suggests several interrelated and complementary structures. 144 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 27-28 145 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 27-28

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Proposed literary structures are often arbitrary and tenuous.146 Johns prologue is so intricately interwoven that it is possible to suggest multiple legitimate structures. 147 It is also possible to read the prologue sequentially, as elevated prose,148 focusing on the development of Johns !"#"$ theme.149 A proposal: A didactic hymn by a single author Some hints as to how the prologue may have been received and understood by Johns audience can be found in a comparison with similar documents from the time.151 The Wisdom of Solomon is one fruitful example, both in style,152 and substance.153 While we have rightly rejected the form critical notions of a redacted hymn, and a Gnostic audience, reading the prologue as a particular type of hymn may provide some interpretive benefits.


S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 24, possibly 2 chiastic structures within the prologue. Or a W shape. Culpeppers children of God as central theme is based on a tenuous foundation, J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 314-315, chiasms are artificial, dont pay enough attention to the syntax, the result of vivid imagination 147 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 26-27, the integrity of the prologue is enhanced by the number of plausible suggestions for the structure, J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 311-312, suggests a single text does not have a single structure, different structures may complement each other, several interrelated and complementary structures 148 Coloe, M, The Structure of the Johannine Prologue and Genesis 1, Australian Biblical Review, 45 (1997), 53, suggests there may be six strophes within the prologue, designed to reflect the days of creation, culminating in one grand act, with Jesus arriving to replace the law. 149 L. Morris, John, 63-100, uses the Word as a developing theme in the prologue, The Word and God (vv. 1-2), The Word and creation (vv. 3-5), The Word and John the Baptist (vv. 6-8), The Word incarnate (vv. 9-14), The Words surpassing excellence (vv. 15-18). Also, R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John, 17, 19-83, similarly divides the prologue on its treatment of the word, but settles on a twofold division, the word in history (1:1-4), and the word as revealer (1:5-18), S.S. Kim, The literary and theological significance of the Johannine prologue, 428435, suggests the prologue deals with the origin, witness, manifestation, and revelation of the !"#"$. 151 While mindful of both parallelomania, and inferring too much from the similarities in terms of origins. 152 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 784, both documents represent a kind of discourse that unites philosophy and rhetoric in order to persuade the audience to embrace a particular approach to life. The genre lends itself to the incorporation of a number of smaller genres or literary forms. 153 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 784-786, both in terms of genre, and in the view of !"#"$ as wisdom, as having a saving role in history. Gordley suggests this role in history is interestingly paralleled in Johns emphasis on the !"#"$ via his role in creation and salvation history across seven stages: the Logos before creation (w. 1-2); the Logos involved in creation (w. 3-4); the Logos in the world after creation (w. 5,9); the Logos rejected by some Israelites in biblical history (w. 10-11); the Logos received by some Israelites in history (w. 12-13); the Logos made flesh (v. 14); the community's experience of grace and truth through Jesus Christ (w. 16-17).
146

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Firstly, a hymn reading treats the movements in the text as strophes, 154 removes the need for chiastic proposals,155 accounts for the staircase relationship between verses, 156 and allows focus on the final form. Secondly, a hymnic view accounts for Johns cosmic language, which occurs in similar hymns throughout the New Testament (Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; 1 Tim 3:16; and Heb 1:2-5).157 The prologue is very different to wisdom hymns of its era, and that almost as many hymn forms have been identified as chiastic structures.158 However, one particular genre of hymn reflects our conclusions on both the historical context, and purpose of the gospel,159 and observations on structure and form of the prologue, the didactic hymn.160 Didactic hymns draw on any number of traditions (exegetical, historical, philosophical, theological, rhetorical) to achieve their didactic aims in poetic and/or hymnic form.161 As a didactic hymn, the Prologue draws on various sources and traditions to teach the basic truths about Jesus, the subject of Johns gospel, and the object of the belief John hopes to inspire in his readers.162 The Prologue and Johns Gospel


M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 791, this provides an interpretive chronology of sorts, rather than seeing the prologue fold back on itself. 155 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 788-790 156 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 792 157 P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 38(1), (1976).54-72, 57, M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 791, The claims made on behalf of the Logos in the prologue can be understood to reflect hymnic conventions. 158 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 796 159 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 801, supports connections that other scholars find between the thought-world of the prologue and the landscape of Hellenistic Jewish wisdom speculation. 160 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 801, this conclusion allows for a richer development of the many connections between this passage and other didactic hymn traditions from the first century and before. 161 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 801, The didactic hymn reading of the prologue thus allows for a richer understanding of the prologue than any previous view. 162 However, while this genre suggestion is compelling, and supports the literary context outlined above, it is slightly circular, and thus not conclusive. Nor is it ultimately necessary to establish this conclusion in order to demonstrate the proposed purpose.
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The lack of consensus on both the structure and genre of the prologue enhance the view that it is a united and complex text,163 and regardless of structure or genre, the prologue still sits easily within the final form of Johns gospel. The Prologue forms a clear first division of the gospel narrative, which can then be split into either four ministry tours (1:19-3:36, 4:1-6:71, 7:1-10:42, 11:121:25),164 or the popular two book structure.165 This framework relies on a reductionist definition of signs, contrary to Johns own view of the works single purpose.166 Various literary structures have been proposed for the gospel, but treating the book as a single narrative unit is more in line with the authors intent (cf John 20:30).167 The prologue provides a framework for the gospel, so that Johns narrative functions within the story of the pre-existent word made flesh.173 Verses 1-5 in relation to the Prologue (1:1-18) and the Gospel Johns opening statements introduce and summarise the themes of the prologue,174 which does the same for the gospel175 The statements present, on

163 Most suggested structures seem somewhat arbitrary, but all contribute to the view that Johns prologue is intricately crafted so that each idea relates to the other ideas in the sequence, see J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 317. Some, however, use the complexity to argue the reverse, that the debate and lack of consensus suggest that no real structure can be found, an example is E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 446, Miller sees the prologue as an anthology of memorable quotes from Johns works. 164 J.L Staley, The Structure of Johns Prologue, 262-264, at 262, Staley suggests this structure operates around a concentric narrative structure, with each of these four sections building on the themes from the prologue - the witness of John, the journey of the Logos, and the empowerment of believers (tied to Jesus demonstrations of power), Our study has shown that the Fourth Gospel exhibits a symmetrical, concentric structure which is built upon that of the prologue we find that it divides the narrative neatly into five sections. At 263, Staley advocates narrative criticism rather than source criticism because his treatment of the narrative doesnt cleanly mesh with structures proposed by source or form critics. 165 A. J Kostenberger, John, 9-11, this structure sees John as opening with the prologue (1:1-18), followed by the book of signs (1:19-12:50) and the book of Glory (13:1-20:31), concluded by an epilogue (21:1-25). 166 D.A Carson, The Gospel According to John, 103-104, John 20:30 makes it clear that John sees the entire gospel as a book of signs. It makes more sense to read the gospel as a narrative 167 D.A Carson, The Gospel According to John, 103-104, Various structural assessments of the gospel are made possible by Johns repeated treatment of the same themes 173 A. J Kostenberger, John, 9 174 J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 317, verses 1-5 are the "logical foundation-piece" for the rest of the prologue, also, Comfort and Hawley, Opening Johns Gospel and Epistles, 15, The rst ve verses form a kind of mini-prologue. Containing most of the key elements found in the rest of the prologue, these ve verses span the time frame from eternity,

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a surface reading, a history of the !"#"$, prior to the incarnation, but through both ambiguities within the passage,176 and the context within the prologue, promote the view that the incarnation is the pivotal moment in history where the creator enters creation.177 Structure and form of verses 1-5 Some form critics treat 1-5 as a separate hymn (with redactions in verses 12).178 Others have identified an ABBA shaped chiasm, or antimetabole, in verses 1-2, which makes claims of redaction within those verses difficult to sustain.179 The statements in verses 1-5 interlock in a staircase structure.180 Words are repeated in pairs throughout to help demonstrate that Johns statements come in a closely related progression.181 There is little question this passage is a single literary unit.182


to Creation, to Christs ministry, to the present (note the present tense verb in 1:5the light shines). 175 S. R Valentine, The Johannine Prologue a Microcosm of the Gospel, 291-304, The prologue is a summary of the content of the gospel, integral to its form and message. J.L. Staley, The structure of Johns prologue, 241-242, the first strophe does set the tone for the structure of the prologue, as the prologue sets the tone for the gospel itself. P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, 70, it is the center around which the gospel turns suggests Logos is what gives intelligibility to the structure of the whole gospel, at 68, Centers in literature not only have their own existence, but confer intelligibility on the literary unit. The logos, now incarnate, is the center from which all else in the gospel follows. Remove either the eternity or the temporality of the logos, and nothing else within the gospel makes sense. Critical scholars acknowledge this relationship, but see it as evidence of redaction, E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 446-447, suggests the prologue serves to introduce the themes of the gospel, but only because it is written as a redacted summary, his analysis of the themes raised in 1-5, and picked up in the gospel proper, the Pre-existence of the Logos, Logos identified with God, Life in the Logos, Light in the Logos, Conflict of Light and Darkness, is remarkably similar to Carsons tabulated treatment of the prologues relationship to the gospel, D.A Carson, The Gospel According to John, 110-111, where Carson takes a less critical approach to the text. 176 In particular the present tense sense of G/&5:, and the light-darkness conflict, and the ambiguous transition between verses three and four, discussed above. 177 D.A Carson, The Gospel According to John, 119-120 178 J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 317, cites Miller, who suggests 1:1-5 (actually la-b, 3-5) is "a complete Christological/Logos hymn In order for this structure to "work," 1:1c and 1:2 are omitted as later additions. 179 J.L Staley, The Structure of Johns Prologue, 243 180 E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 446, S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 18-19, J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 318 181 J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 319 182 And, indeed, a single Didactic hymn, as argued above.

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!"#"$ and Purpose: Divine word before, in, and entering, Salvation History John opens with an exposition of Genesis 1,183 with the !"#"$ integral to the creation of the world (1:1-3), 184 active in bringing life to mankind (1:3b-4a), and active in revealing, and redemption, in the battle between light and dark (1:4-5). 185 Verses 1-5 retell the Genesis story as salvation history, around the person of the divine !"#"$.186 The !"#"$ is active before incarnation, but his physical arrival serves as the pivotal point where the created order is dramatically altered. 187
Jesus claims to divinity and uncreated pre-existence are emphasised through the use of & () as noted above, M.E Glasswell, The Relationship Between John and Mark, 111 suggests this pre-existence is a necessary pre-condition of Johns argument, a further element of Johns exposition of Genesis is his treatment of God speaking in creation (Gen 1:3) which he represents as !"#"$, a common exegetical practice, P. Borgen, Creation, Logos and the Son, 92, cites Philo as an example of a Jewish exegete who settles on logos in Genesis 1:3. The Creation of light from darkness is also an exposition on Gen 1:2-5. Others who suggest the prologue is an exposition of Genesis include: S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 33, E. H. Pagels, Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John, 478, 489, though some are hesitant to recognise this connection, following Bultmann, Glasswell, M.E The Relationship Between John and Mark, 110, Bultmann says, Gen. 1.1 is inadequate even though it may form part of the idea. It is not simply creation that is in mind. Revelation and redemption are seen in Jesus and this is a fulfilment of God's Word achieved in the Old Testament from Creation seen as the act and word of God himself. There is room for no other Word; hence, when that Word is seen in Jesus this can only imply divinity from the beginning. H. Thyssen, Philosophical Christology in the New Testament, Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, 53(2), (2006), 133-176, 153-155, is also dismissive of the link to Genesis 1 through a bizarre argument from silence, and some interesting assumptions about the early church and their treatment of the passage. He suggests that because a later author, Justin, makes the connection between !"#"$ and creation, John must not have been doing that, or this later argument would be unnecessary, The reason why we do not hear of any scriptural derivation from the word of creation is that such an argument did not exist. The scriptural argument of Justin occupies so to speak the place where that derivation ought to have appeared. Because that exists, the other cannot have been Since, then, no Biblical derivation from the word of Creation existed, the Christian doctrine of the Logos cannot have originated as a deduction from the word of Genesis. 184 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 34, 43 In w. 1-5, that part of the prologue which most strongly echoes the creation account, the Logos is clearly aligned with the Creator rather than with creation. 185 D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 88-91 186 Stressing the divinity of the !"#"$, by treating Jesus, not creation, as the subject, see S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 43, before a stylised retelling of the creation account, P. Borgen, Creation, Logos and the Son, 92-94, Borgen identifies three elements of this retelling, the pre-existence of the !"#"$, the creator entering creation and not being received, and the primordial light, he suggests that point 2 contains echoes of wisdom tradition (see Enoch 40:2), where perhaps the easiest link to Genesis is the fall, where Gods people reject him. Regarding the divinity of the !"#"$, the Prologue asserts what the gospel demonstrates, M.E Glasswell, The Relationship Between John and Mark, 109 the Fourth Gospel does later make that leap, on the basis of the Prologue, in its understanding of the relationship between Father and Son, and there is no need therefore to split hairs about this in the Prologue itself. We can see how this development could take place from the concept of the originality of God's gospel (i.e. Word) as found in Jesus. 187 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 33, A similar pattern can be found in John's prologue where the verb .,$)#3+, is found 9 times (six of which are the form "$."$)"(#). As in Genesis, it is used of the created order consistently in w. 3, 6, 10, 12, but in v. 14 this pattern is
183

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The Light/Darkness dualism is a key theme in both Genesis 1:2-5 and John 1:4-5, and was common to first century religious belief,188 John engages this category through his exposition on creation, and ties a second common category, the !"#"$, to the resolution of this common conflict.189 Johns !"#"$ creates the world, triumphs over darkness, and brings recreation to individuals through belief.190 In defining Jesus as the divine !"#"$ (1:1-2) made flesh (1:14), John employed a term that engaged our identified implied reader, the first century everyman. Jews viewed the !"#"$ as the word of God, typified by Torah and the prophets,191 but also in the 2nd Temple period, and in Rabbinic speculation, it is understood as wisdom,192 a foundation of Gods creation (Prov 8:22-30).193 Similarities can be drawn between the prologue and both the Odes of


dramatically broken. By way of the incarnation the Logos, through whom all things were created (w. 35, 10), enters creation and becomes a part of it In w. 1-12 .,$)#3+, continues to be used consistently of the created order in general or of specific creatures in particular, -"$.4, on the other hand, has been hypostasized into the cognate noun #$ -#$.#%. 188 A.J Kostenberger, John, 13, Qumran positions light and darkness as an eschatological dualism. Gnosticism, and Platonism more broadly, operated on dualistic categories, Johns use of !"#"$ and the dualism between light and dark form part of Bultmanns case for viewing the prologue of John as a Gnostic hymn. R. Bultmann, John, 30, Bultmann suggests the creation theology of verse 1, and the man of light in verses 4-5, place the prologue in an OT infused early Oriental Gnosticism. This assumption was thoroughly repudiated, see E.M Yamauchi, Pre-Christian Gnosticism, the New Testament and Nag Hammadi in recent debate, Themelios 10.1 (September 1984): 22-27, electronic edition, retrieved 28 July 2011, http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/article_gnosticism_yamauchi.html, Bultmann's formulation that the Johannine prologue was a pre-Christian Gnostic baptist hymn has not convinced even his own. Furthermore, D.A Carson, Recent Literature on the Fourth Gospel: Some reflections, Themelios, 8-17, 12, suggests such dualism is universal to religious expression, also M.A Matson, Current Approaches to the Priority of John, 5 189 See translation notes above regarding the present tense of G/&5: in juxtaposition with the aorist ./3!/M5&. 190 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 34, The Logos therefore is portrayed in the prologue as the one through whom God brings about both creation and new creation, the latter being made possible by the incarnation. 191 D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 86 192 W. Carter, The prologue and John's gospel, 37, Taps into wisdom traditions, where the !"#"$ is not created but eternal, on Rabbinic speculation see E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 447 193 M. Coloe, The Structure of the Johannine Prologue and Genesis 1, 46, 52

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Solomon,194 and Wisdom of Solomon.195 The Targum understands it as a divine hypostasis. 196 The Stoics viewed !"#"$ as the reasoning and creative power in the universe,197 Roman Stoics spoke of the emperor as the embodiment of the divine !"#"$,198 speaking of Augustus as the beginning of all things. 199 Philo fused the Jewish wisdom concept with the Greek,200 he used the word !"#"$ some 1,200 times,201 and viewed it as the sum total of the thought of God and a divine mediator between humans and God.202 Some see similarities with Philo as evidence that Hellenised Judaism is the sole background of the prologue,203 but this is an unnecessarily narrow conclusion.204Equally narrow is the reverse, the idea that since Johns !"#"$ is
E. H. Pagels, Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John, 495, quotes Ode 18, which discusses the conflict between light and darkness, and says of the word: He is the light and the dawning of thought; and by him the generations spoke to one another.. from him came love and equality, and they spoke one to another what was theirs." 195 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 784-786, in terms of both genre, and in the view of !"#"$ as wisdom, as having a saving role in history. Gordley suggests this role in history is interestingly paralleled in Johns emphasis on the !"#"$ via his role in creation and salvation history across seven stages: the Logos before creation (w. 1-2); the Logos involved in creation (w. 3-4); the Logos in the world after creation (w. 5,9); the Logos rejected by some Israelites in biblical history (w. 10-11); the Logos received by some Israelites in history (w. 12-13); the Logos made flesh (v. 14); the community's experience of grace and truth through Jesus Christ (w. 16-17). 196 E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 447 197 D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 86, also G. L. Miller, Life and the glory, 215-219, suggests a stoic platonism underpinned the Philos Hellenised Judaism. 198 B. Salier, Jesus, The Emperor, and The Gospel According to John, Challenging Perspectives in the Gospel of John, ed J. Lierman, (Tubingden, Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 288 199 B. Salier, Jesus, The Emperor, and The Gospel According to John, 290 200 H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 266-267, Philo fused OT word with Greek Logos. Prologues use of Logos stands in contrast with Philos Platonism and metaphysics of presence. 201 E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 447 202 D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 86 203 The similarities are remarkable, H. C. Waetjen, Logos pros ton Theon, 266-267, Philo could easily agree with the opening statement that the Logos was in the beginning, both agree in preexistence of Logos, and that it is of divine nature but not divine essence/person. but some take these similarities to a level of dependence, where John represents Hellenised Judaism come into its own, see G. L. Miller, Life and the glory, 215-219, for an alternative hypothesis in the realm of speculation, see H. Thyssen, Philosophical Christology in the New Testament, 172-174, suggests the Hellenisation of the gospel is completed by Apollos, who brings his Alexandrian education to bear in the form of the hymn at the heart of the prologue. 204 A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, kindle location 1012-1083, it is probable that John was aware of the Stoic concept of the Logos but more likely that the Old Testament was also involved, Isaiahs portrayal of the personified Word of God thus provides the conceptual framework for Johns theology of the Logos.
194

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radically different to its counterparts we must dismiss all external influences as irrelevant.205 Johns redefinition of !"#"$ uses this universal background,206 and cultural definitions,207 as a touchstone for his message,208 to move his audience to a new understanding based around Jesus.209 Johns argument regarding the identity and significance of the !"#"$ revolves around his statement in verse 1.210 The creator has come in to the world as a saviour. !"#"$ is both a Trinitarian statement, and a Christological title (1:14,17).211 Johns conceptual use of !"#"$ gives meaning to the whole book.212 Verses 1-5 provide us with the background to Johns foundational


E.L Miller, The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos, 449, 450, 457, Miller suggests the competing and contradictory proposals makes all of them equally unlikely (a logical fallacy). John uses the concept differently to all of these alternate views, so Miller concludes we should interpret what logos means based on the gospel exclusively (rather than what the gospel means based on the logos). Even extremely speculative reconstructions of the gospels origins recognise that the author adopted the term for the purpose of evangelism, or apologetics, see H. Thyssen, Philosophical Christology in the New Testament, 172-174, who suggests Apollos the Hellenised Jew wrote the hymn behind the prologue, still sees an evangelistic purpose behind the choiceThe apologists adopted the doctrine of the Logos from their non-Christian environment, just as it was, for the purpose of justifying the fact that the Christians, in addition to the God in heaven, worshipped a human being who had appeared on earth, as a god created something acceptable to the educated Logos doctrine justified the adoration of Jesus as a divine being 206 R. B. Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 429, Also supported by G.R BeasleyMurray, John, 5-10, says the prologue employs universally known categories. 207 R. Kysar, Christology and controversy, 348 208 R. Kysar, Christology and controversy,348, suggests it was ingenious of the author to use logos because of its rich and varied meanings, also P.M Phillips, The Prologue of the Fourth Gospel, 139 209 D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 91, Says !"#"$ is a bridge building title, but distinctly Christian and identified with Jesus. S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 29, says John uses !"#"$ in a fresh and imaginative way, while interacting with various backgrounds. A.J Kostenberger, Encountering John, kindle location 998, John filled this expression with a new, different meaning, thus correcting and challenging his readers worldview. 210 S. Voorwinde, Johns prologue: beyond some impasses, 43, P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 38(1), (1976).54-72, 68, It is for this reason that Barrett says of vs. 1 : "John intends that the whole of his gospel shall be read in the light of this verse." 211 R. Kysar, Christology and controversy, 351-356, 363, D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 85 212 On Johns use of !"#"$ as a concept, rather than thought or word, see D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 85, one of three ways it is used in the NT, where it is also used as an outward expression of a thought, or inward thought not expressed. On the function of the concept see P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, 70, it is the center around which the gospel turns On the incarnation as
205

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premise.213 By tying the !"#"$ to the history of creation,214 John demonstrates the incarnation of the !"#"$ is the pivotal moment in history (1:1,14).215 Conclusion This passage contributes to our understanding of the Trinity, of creation, of the universal offer of life through Jesus, of the incarnation, and of the reception Jesus received from his world. Within Johns purpose, the case for belief in Jesus is based on the foundation suplied in our passage. Jesus is the uncreated creator (1:1-3), and the source of life (1:3-4), who overcomes darkness (1:4-5). The meanings !"#"$ previously evoked for Johns readers pale in comparison to this truth. This passage shows readers, be they within the church or without, be they Jew, Greek, Hellenised Jew, Roman, or Australian, that Jesus, the !"#"$, is the source of life for those who believe these claims to be true.


Like a superhero origins movie, or a Star Wars prequel, see also W. Carter, The prologue and John's gospel, 37 214 M. E. Gordley, The Johannine prologue and Jewish didactic hymn traditions, 800, The prologue sets the stage for the discourse that will follow, placing the life and ministry of Jesus within the Jewish traditions of creation discourse, Mosaic discourse, and wisdom discourse. It places the story of Jesus Christ in the context of God's creative and redemptive work throughout history, and invites the reader to draw the conclusion that the coming of Christ and the establishment of communities of his followers are not simply recent historical phenomena. Rather they are rooted in the life-creating and light-giving nature of God, which has been experienced by humanity in a number of ways throughout history. 215 P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, 68, In addition to the centering of the divine and human in the logos (vss. 1 & 14), and the derived centerscosmological, religious and anthropologicalvs. 14 introduces the idea of an historical center. At the center of history, therefore, God reveals the meaning of the world as salvation. This salvation comes through the incarnation, which is the subject of the gospel, see D. Wood, The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John, 91, J. G, Van der Watt, The Composition of the Prologue of Johns Gospel, 319, 332, R.B. Brown, The Prologue, 429, What the incarnation of the Word means in history is its major theme. At the end of his Gospel in 20:31, John sums up the meaning of the prologue.
213

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Bibliography R. Bauckham, Eyewitnesses and critical history: a response to Jens Schrter and Craig Evans, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 31(2), (2008), 221235. R. Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History and Theology in the Gospel of John, (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic Group, 2007) G.R Beasley-Murray, John, Word Biblical Commentary, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999) G.L Borchet, The Fourth Gospel and its Theological Impact, Review and Expositor 78 (1981), 249-258 P. Borgen, Creation, Logos and the Son : observations on John 1:1-18 and 5:17-18, Ex auditu, (1987), 388-97. P. Borgen, The Gospel of John and Hellenism, Exploring the Gospel of John: In Honor of D. Moody Smith, ed. R.A Culpepper, and C.C Black, (Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press, 1996) F.F. Bruce, "The Fourth Gospel in Recent Interpretation," Terminal Letter of the Theological Students' Fellowship (Spring 1958): 2-6. R. Brown, Prologue of the Gospel of John : John 1:1-18, Review & Expositor, 62(4), (1965). 429-439. R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, trans G.R Beasley-Murray, (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1971) P. Cahill, Johannine Logos as center, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 38(1), (1976), 54-72. W. Carter, The prologue and John's gospel : function, symbol and the definitive word, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, (39), (1990), 35-58.

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