Craig S. Keener
The Final Word. 1:1–18
BECAUSE WE HAVE ADDRESSED THE BACKGROUND of the prologue in some detail above, this opening paragraph merely summarizes that background. John addresses a community of predominantly Jewish Christians rejected by most of their non-Christian Jewish communities because of their faith in Jesus. The leaders of the synagogues make a case similar, or perhaps related, to that of second-century Palestinian rabbis: Judaism is a religion of Torah, and the prophetic, messianic Jesus movement has departed from proper obervance of God's Word (particularly from orthodox monotheism). John responds that following Jesus not only entails true observance of Torah; Jesus himself is God's Word, and thus no one can genuinely observe Torah without following Jesus. Jewish language about Wisdom, Torah, and God's Word (rooted in OT wisdom texts but substantially developed since then) provide John a culturally intelligible (albeit only partly adequate) means to communicate Jesus' deity, supremacy, and perfect relationship with the Father while maintaining Jewish monotheism.
The Preexistent Word (1:1–2)
John connects the three lines in this first verse in rhythmic fashion; as Boismard points out, he avoids monotony «by coupling the clauses together according to a device in vogue among the Semites: the first word of the second and third phrases takes up the last word of the preceding one (Word-Word … God-God).»3193 Together with v. 2, the four lines provide also a full chiasm, which itself subdivides into two smaller chiastic structures:
A In the beginning
C the word
D and the word
F with God
F' and God
D' the word3194
C This one
Á in the beginning with God
The double chiasms appear as follows:
A In the beginning
C the word
C and the word
Á with God
A And God
C the word
C' This one
Á In the beginning with God3195
In neither case is the balance exact, but the parallelism of the Psalms and other Semitic poetry is usually similarly inexact. This careful structure opens John's prologue and Gospe1.
1. In the Beginning (1:1a, 2)
Although λόγος is the subject of 1:1a, b, and c, John has an important reason to open his Gospel with the phrase «in the beginning.» As most commentators observe, «beginning» alludes to the beginning of creation,3196 and the opening words of John's prologue echo Gen 1:1.3197 This allusion is important precisely because he goes on to speak of creation in 1:3. Although John will go on to depict the advent of a new creation (the usual referent of άρχή in his Gospel, e.g., 2:11; 8:25; 15:27; 16:4; cf. 6:64; 1 John 1:1),3198 he refers here to the literal beginning of creation (cf. 8:44; 9:32; 17:24); not only other Genesis allusions3199 but the explicit reference to the world's creation in 1(particularly in view of parallels in contemporary literature cited below), the origination of John the Baptist, and so forth, reinforce this point. The opening words establish the plainly Jewish tone of the Gospel, though John's purpose is to explain Jesus, not simply to expound the text of Genesis as a midrashic expositor would.3200
Early Jewish wisdom texts celebrated the existence of Wisdom «in the beginning,»3201 and Wisdom,3202 Torah,3203 and the Logos3204 were sometimes called «the beginning.» (Although Jewish teachers discovered this use from their exegesis of Prov 8:22, their openness to it might reflect the Greek philosophical use of αρχή as «first principle,» similar to one philosophical understanding of λόγος.)3205 John does imply more than Jewish Wisdom language normally indicated, but it was easier to stretch Wisdom or Logos language to new bounds than to try to communicate Jesus' identity with no point of contact.3206 Paul had earlier used a similar point of contact in Col 1:15–203207 with terms like «image» and «firstborn.»3208 Others have suggested that John мая echo the «beginning» of the traditional gospel account;3209 suggesting a play on the «beginning» of Genesis and «the proper beginning for the story of Jesus,» Aune points out that «beginning» in Mark 1"is virtually a technical term in historical and biographical writing, based on the notion that the complete explanation of a historical phenomenon must be based on its origins.»3210
That John intends an allusion to Genesis 1 мая be regarded as certain; that he also plays on fuller nuances in postbiblical Wisdom language (identifying Wisdom with the beginning) is quite possible; that he also intends an allusion to the proper «beginning» of the Gospel account is possible, though the strongest evidence (primarily Mark 1:1) is not compelling. For the sake of emphasis 1recapitulates from 1the intimacy of Father and Son in the beginning, at creation (so also 1:3; 8:58); thus those who reject the incarnate Jesus reject God himself. Jesus did not «make himself» God (10:33); he shared glory with the Father before the world began (17:5).
2. The Word's Preexistence (1:1–2)
Although Johns concept of the Words préexistence surpasses that of his contemporaries (see below on ήν), his language would have impelled readers to recall the contemporary Wisdom language he surpasses.
2A. Wisdom or Torah as God's First Creation
Many texts depict Wisdom's creation at the beginning, often including Wisdom's participation in the creation of the rest of the universe (on which see comment on John 1:3). Thus in Sirach Wisdom exclaims, «Before the world, from the beginning (άπ' άρχής) He created me.»3211 The author declares, «Before all things was Wisdom created, and understanding of counsel from eternity.»3212
First-century Jewish literature similarly stressed that God's law was «prepared from the creation of the world.»3213 Some second-century Tannaim, identifying Torah with Wisdom in Prov 8:22–23, declared that Torah was God's first creation;3214 Amoraim followed this teaching.3215 Although later rabbis sometimes claimed that God created six or seven things before the world, they generally listed Torah first.3216 In one scheme where God created six things before the world, for instance, only Torah and the throne of glory were formed before the world, and Torah was created first; God merely contemplated the other «préexistent» creations.3217 (Although many rabbis declared that the Messiah was among those things which existed before the world was formed,3218 more often only the name of, or plan for, the Messiah existed beforehand.3219 Similarly the patriarchs preexisted, but usually only in God's plan or as spirits in God's plan.3220 In contrast to the teaching of Wisdom's/ Torah's préexistence, teachings concerning préexistent messiahs or patriarchs have little substantial early attestation3221 and should not be regarded as relevant for the study of the Fourth Gospe1.)3222
Rabbis differed, however, on how long before the world God created Torah; some scholars said two thousand years,3223 others said 974 generations.3224 Apart from these elaborations, the earliest form of the Torah idea is identical with the Wisdom image on which it is based: God created Torah before he created anything else.3225
Our extant sources for Jewish opinion indicate that the language of Torah's existence often served a practical (perhaps homiletic) rather than merely speculative purpose.3226 Various early sources claim that Torah existed before Sinai;3227 in contrast to Genesis's portrayal of patriarchs who sometimes violated Torah's later prohibitions,3228 Jubilees has them almost «squeaky clean» on this count,3229 and when whitewashing them is impossible, Jubilees provides an explanation.3230 The rabbis naturally developed this opinion.3231
2B. The Préexistence of Johns Logos
For John, the Word was not only «from the beginning» (άπ' άρχής, 1 John 1:1), but «in the beginning» (John 1:1). Many commentators have laid heavy stress on the verb ήν: in contrast to many Wisdom texts which declare that Wisdom or Torah was created «in the beginning» or before the creation of the rest of the world, John omits Jesus' creation and merely declares that he «was.» This verb мая thus suggest the Word's eternal preexistence;3232 after all, how could God have been without his Word? That God created «all things» through the Word in 1(naturally excluding the Word itself as the agent) further underlines the contrast between the Word and what was created.3233
In short, the verb suggests a preexistence of greater magnitude than that of Wis-dom/Torah in most Jewish texts. One might be tempted to argue that such a suggestion is too much to hang on a mere linking verb; after all, «beginning» could refer only to the rest of creation, as sometimes in Jewish texts, and is defined in this text only by the allusion back to the creation of heavens and earth in Gen 1:1.3234 The temptation to diminish the force of the ήν is probably removed, however, by the literary contrast between Jesus' «becoming» flesh (1:14; cf. 1:6) and his simply «being» in the beginning,3235 and finally eliminated by identifications of Jesus with his Father's deity throughout the Fourth Gospe1. If John can say that the Word «was God» (1:1c; cf. 1:18), that Jesus claims, «Before Abraham was, I am» (8:58), and that it is appropriate to believe in Jesus as Lord and God (20:28), John's Jesus is more than merely divine Wisdom.3236 Jesus мая remain distinct from and subordinate to the Father and мая exercise roles frequently equivalent to the exalted role of Wisdom in Jewish literature; yet he does not precisely fit the traditional categories. John utilizes the closest concept available from his milieu, but modifies it to fit his Christology rather than his Christology to fit beliefs about divine Wisdom.
2C. The Word Was with God (1:1b)
John repeatedly emphasizes Jesus' intimacy with the Father, sometimes in the language of him being with the Father (3:2; 8:29; cf. 8:38; 16:32), as Jesus also is with his disciples (cf. 11:54; 13:33; 14:9, 17, 25; 15:27; 16:4; 17:12). Jesus was with the Father before creation (17:5).
Wisdom texts celebrated the special relationship between God and his Wisdom. Wisdom was present (παρούσα) with God when he made the world;3237 Wisdom lives together (συμβίωσιν) with him;3238 in later rabbis, Wisdom/Torah claims to be «with God» at creation.3239 Johns Logos also has a special relationship with God, indicated in part by the προς with the accusative3240 but even more so by continual reaffirmations throughout this Gospel of their close relationship.3241 Although the image of father and son was not always one of intimacy and harmony (cf. Luke 15:12–13),3242 the picture in this Gospel is that of a perfect, ideal father-son relationship (e.g., 8:29, 35–38). As Appold notes, the motif of Jesus' oneness with God, stressed throughout the Gospel, begins as early as this line.3243
Although one scholar emphasizes John's statements distinguishing Jesus from the Father (e.g., 14:28) and argues against Jesus' deity in the Gospel,3244 the Gospel is equally clear in affirming Jesus' deity (1:1c, 18; 8:58; 20:28) and in distinguishing him from the Father. John addresses «an identification by nature of two distinct persons,»3245 an image developed by the Athanasian faction at Nicea in a manner consistent with its roots.3246
3. The Word's Deity (1:1c)
In this line it becomes clear that, although John employs the basic myth of Wisdom as the nearest available analogy to communicate his Christology, it proves inadequate. Jesus is not created like Wisdom (Sir 1:4; John 1:1b), but is himself fully deity (1:1c), bursting the traditional categories for divine Wisdom.3247 It is not surprising that the early centuries of Christians felt that emphasis on Jesus' deity was a major reason for the Fourth Gospe1.3248
Not all writers used the title θεός in the same way. It was the standard term for any deity in traditional Greek religion, but these deities acted in ways both repulsive to first-century Jews and embarrassing to many Greek and Roman thinkers. Deities could prove powerless to help mortals they loved, even mortals who were related to them;3249 some could be captured and questioned for information.3250 By contrast, the God of Judaism was omnipotent (Rev 1:8),3251 though paganism in this period (especially Roman paganism) generally also attributed this trait to the supreme deity.3252 Some pagan deities stole mortals' property3253 and killed those who might let out the secret;3254 deities–often married–could seduce and rape various mortals,3255 but slay such mortals if they proved unfaithfu1.3256 (Their sexual exploits proved fertile ground for early Jewish and Christian critiques of paganism.)3257 Hera could jealously avenge her honor in response to Zeus's adultery;3258 insulted by mortals' neglect3259 or criticisms,3260 deities could also plot their deaths.3261 Greeks could complain about the injustice of their deities' decrees;3262 with an entire pantheon, one could pit some deities against others (as in the Trojan War)3263 in ways that would have been unthinkable to monotheists. Mortals could also threaten them with unbelief if they failed to act.3264 Many Greek and Roman thinkers had become revolted by the literal sense of the old myths.3265
Many Greek thinkers articulated a morally purer notion of the divine.3266 Most Platonists adopted Aristotlés idea of God «as a mind thinking itself,» though in a later period they returned to the early Platonic notion of a first principle higher than mind.3267 The early Stoic view of God bordered on pantheism, identified with the universal reason, the pervasive active principle in the universe acting on passive matter.3268 Contemporary Stoics, however, accommodated the notion of a personal deity against their earlier pantheism.3269 Thus they could speak of God as Zeus or a personal equivalent of Nature;3270 even though gods and people might function as distinct entities, all deities except Zeus would be resolved into the primeval fire. Although generally still polytheistic, Greeks in general had no problems depicting a supreme god as simply «God.»3271 Some also praised the Jewish people for rejecting Egyptian images of beasts (also rejected by Greeks) and preferring τό θείον.3272
Some Jewish writers, especially those who, like Philo, were influenced by Greek thought, could use «god» loosely as well as for the supreme deity. But even when writers like Philo (following Exod 7:1) call Moses a «god,»3273 Moses remains distinct from the supreme, eternal God to be worshiped,3274 for whom the title is normally reserved.3275 Further, Philo has a text (Exod 7:1) that allows him to accommodate some Hellenistic conceptions of heroes in an apologetically useful manner. Finally, for all the associations of Moses with the divine in Philo, the language comes short of Johns language for Jesus.3276 Jesus appears as God s agent in the Fourth Gospel, but not just like Moses as God's chief agent; Jesus is one greater than Moses (1:17), namely the Word itself (1:14). In John's claim, Jesus is therefore not merely the «ultimate prophet.» «God» in the third line (1:1c) hardly signifies something dramatically different from what the term signified in the two lines that preceded it (l:lab), even if one presses a distinction on the basis of the anarthrous construction; like other early Christians (e.g., Mark 12:29; 1Tim 1:17), John acknowledges only one God (e.g., John 5:44; 17:3).
Many commentators doubt that the anarthrous construction signifies anything theologically at al1. It certainly cannot connote «a god,» as in «one among many,» given Jesus' unique titles, role, and relationship with the Father later in the Gospe1.3277 Nor should it mean «divine» in a weaker sense distinct from Gods own divine nature, for example, in the sense in which Philo can apply it to Moses.3278 Had John meant merely «divine» in a more general sense, the common but more ambiguous expression τό θείον was already available;3279 thus, for example, Philo repeatedly refers to the divine Word (θείος λόγος)3280 and Aristeas refers to «the divine law» (του θείου νόμου).3281
The anarthrous construction cannot be pressed to produce the weaker sense of merely «divine» in a sense distinct from the character of the Father's deity. In one study of about 250 definite predicative nominatives in the NT, 90 percent were articular when following the verb, but a comparable 87 percent were anarthrous when before the verb, as here.3282 Grammatically, one would thus expect John's predicate nominative «θεός» to be anarthrous, regardless of the point he was making. Further, John omits the article for God the Father elsewhere in the Gospel, even elsewhere in the chapter (e.g., 1:6, 12, 13, 18).3283 The same pattern of inconsistent usage appears in early patristic texts,3284 and apparently Greek literature in genera1.3285 And in a context where absolute identification with the Father would be less of a danger, John does not balk at using the articular form to call Jesus ό θεός (20:28).3286
Still, the nuance must be slightly different from «God» elsewhere in this verse, given the distinction between God and the Logos in the second line; John indeed spends much of the rest of his Gospel clarifying the ambiguous distinction between God and the Logos promulgated in the lines of this first verse. (Philo, who distinguishes the Logos from God,3287 once makes a point that God's eldest Logos is θεός–anarthrous–whereas God himself is ό θεός–articular;3288 thus Philo мая make a distinction analogous to John's here.3289 In John's case, however, the distinction is clearer from context than from grammar, as noted above; and John's Logos is more likely eternal, and certainly personal, than Philós.)
Grammar permits us to translate θεός in 1as either «God» or «divine.» Regarding Jesus as merely «divine» but not deity violates the context; identifying him with the Father does the same. For this reason, John might thus have avoided the article even had grammatical convention not suggested it;3290 as a nineteenth-century exegete argued, an articular θεός would have distorted the sense of the passage, «for then there would be an assertion of the entire identity of the Logos and of God, while the writer is in the very act of bringing to view some distinction between them.»3291
Provided we allow the immediately preceding uses of «God» (and analogous identifications throughout the Gospel) to define the sense of the Logos's deity,3292 one might wish to translate the predicate nominative adjectivally as «divine,» to distinguish the divine Word from the God with whom the Word coexisted in the beginning. It is with just such grammatical and contextual complexities that ante-Nicene and early post-Nicene Christianity was forced to grapple. An early twentieth-century commentator, observing that John's language makes Jesus partaker of the divine essence yet not identical with «the whole Godhead… is just the problem which the doctrine of the Trinity seeks to solve.»3293
Scholars from across the contemporary theological spectrum recognize that, although Father and Son are distinct in this text, they share deity in the same way;3294 thus some translate: «the Word had the same nature as God,»3295 or much less ambiguously (though still not quite precisely) «What God was, the Word was.»3296 That is perhaps the closest English translation by which one мая hope to catch John's nuance: fully deity but not the Father. That many sectors of Judaism had already stretched monotheism to accommodate a divine agent distinct from the Father made John's apologetic task easier, even if he stretched the divine agent idea farther than most of his contemporaries (occasionally excepting Philo).
The Word and Creation (1:3)
John's Logos, like Wisdom/Torah, is God's agent of creation, a role that мая also prefigure his work in the new creation. Before examining parallels between the Johannine Logos and Jewish tradition's Wisdom/Torah, we must survey some of the various backgrounds that have been proposed for the creative Logos of 1:3.
1. Proposed Greek Parallels
Scholars who view John s purpose as antignostic could find plenty of antignosticism in 1:3; in contrast to gnostic beliefs, Christ alone is the mediator of creation in John. In Gnosticism, emanations from the primal Aeon formed the evil material world;3297 the creator was generally the Demiurge, a power far removed from the original deity.3298 Were Mandaic literature not so late, one could even read the verse from an anti-Mandaic angle, noting later rabbinic polemic against the idea of Adam as a divine agent in creation, a tenet of later Mandaism.3299 Yet creation through mediation was hardly limited to gnostic sources; in Greek texts a supreme deity could create other deities to assist in creation.3300 Further, Jewish circles were familiar with the idea of mediation in creation, which appears in Philo;3301 polemic against it appears in rabbinic3302 and other3303 sources about angelic involvement in creation. Further, John's language does not imply polemic against such a view as Col 1does; we мая observe John's lack of polemic against a gnostic view of creation, for instance, in that he neither agrees with gnosticism that matter is evil3304 nor emphasizes the contrary Jewish position of the goodness of creation (1Tim 4:4), though he certainly accepts the latter position (cf. 1:14).3305 Still, for John, Jesus is the only mediator of creation, with or without polemic against other claims; Greeks well understood the divine instrumental function of διά with reference to creation.3306
Others have found here echoes of the Stoic doctrine of the Spermatikos (generative) Logos3307 or other Greek conceptions of the source of being.3308 One мая even compare with Johns wording the anticreation language of Democritus («Nothing can come into being from that which is not» [μηδέν τε εκ του μη οντος γίνεσθαι])3309 and by Diogenes of Apollonius3310–though other Greek texts3311 and especially the Dead Sea Scrolls offer verbal parallels to John 1no less striking («apart from his counsel [מבלעזיו] nothing is performed»;3312 «all things come to be through Your will that are»;3313 «apart from Your will nothing is performed»;3314 «from God were all things made»3315). Although Johns emphasis is christological rather than cosmological, which rules out a polemic against anticreationists here (contrast 2Pet 3:4–6),3316 his cosmology, like that of the OT and much contemporary Jewish tradition, conflicted with the idea of an uncreated, imperishable universe.3317
More relevant among Greek cosmogenies, however, is the Platonic view of a creator (δημιουργός) building the material universe according to the ideal pattern perceptible by reason.3318 In contrast to much earlier Platonic thought, some middle Platonist contemporaries of John were beginning to take the nature of creation in Platós Timaeus literally,3319 asserting that Soul shaped matter.3320 Thus, as Plutarch summarizes Plato, God, matter, and form constituted the first principles, matter being «the least ordered of substances,» form (ιδέα) being «the most beautiful of patterns» (παραδει γμάτων), «and God the best of causes.»3321 A later neoplatonist like Plotinus could declare that the world of intellect formed the universe, which is now held together by the Logos.3322 Middle Platonism's contribution to the Fourth Gospel is at most indirect, but might be acknowledged by way of Jewish philosophers like Philo, for whom the doctrine of God's pattern in creation is paramount. For Philo, too, God used the world of intellect as a pattern for the rest of the world.3323 Some philosophers extrapolated from creation to the existence or nature of the creator, an apologetic followed by some early Christian writers (cf. Rom 1:19–20).3324 Such concerns are, however, beyond John's purview; it is not a creator's existence that generates controversy among his audience but the creator's identification with Jesus.
2. Jewish Views of Creation
Greeks were divided as to whether matter had always existed3325 or whether visible things were formed from visible3326 or invisible things;3327 Jewish writers generally followed the latter view, that God had created.3328 Although some Jewish writers maintained the view of a creation ex nihilo3329 (many contend that this view surfaces only after the Fourth Gospel),3330 others interpreted Gen 1 in light of the typical pagan conception of a primeval chaos out of which God ordered the universe.3331 All agreed, however, that God was «the One who made the world,»3332 usually including the primeval matter he later reformed. Samaritan liturgy came to emphasize creation heavily,3333 and some Jewish teachers sought mystic insight into the way God created the world.3334 Occasional parallels indicate that at least some later rabbinic traditions preserve reminiscences of earlier speculations that were more widespread.3335 Philo, who, like later Platonists, synthesized older Platonism and elements of the more popular Stoic thought,3336 argued that God formed the universe (starting with the incorporeal world)3337 through his Logos,3338 through which he also sustains it.3339 Such a view comported acceptably with the common Greek philosophical ideas that God created through matter and form or that reason ordered existing matter (see comment above). In Philo, Logos is not only divine Reason structuring matter, but as in some middle Platonic thought a determinate pattern which is God's image.3340 Thus God made the world as a copy of his divine image, the Logos being his archetypal seal imprinted on them.3341 Like John, who connects the creative Logos with God's written Logos,3342 Philo connects the creative Logos with the wisdom of Reason by which he draws the perfect (τέλειος) man, the wise man, to himself.3343 Philo also connects creation with the law of Moses, and by arguing that the universe was created in harmony with Moses' law and that those who obey the law obey Nature,3344 he explicitly identifies Moses' law with the universal natural law that phi-losophers conceived as pervading the cosmos.3345 Unlike John, Philo was at home in the cultural sphere of philosophically educated hellenized Judaism; but both reflect in many respects a common milieu.3346
But Philo was not the first Jewish writer to suggest that God started from a pattern in creation. As early as the second century B.C.E., Jewish writers indicated God's prior design for creation rooted in knowledge or wisdom.3347 While expounding on God alone being able to justify, Qumran's Manual of Discipline declares that «All things come to be by his knowledge [בדעתו] and he sustains [or, establishes] them by his plan3348 [כםחשכח]». Later rabbis applied the Platonic image to Torah: God the builder used Torah as his architect, consulting Torah with its plans and diagrams.3349 Some Tannaim felt that God stamped each person with the seal of Adam (m. Sank. 4:5). Further, Jewish writers fully exploited OT passages which already taught that God created the world by speaking (Gen 1; Ps 33) or through his Wisdom (Prov 8).
3. Creation by Word, Wisdom, Torah
God spoke the world into being in Gen 1, and John's contemporaries continued to celebrate this OT pattern. Both early nonrabbinic writers3350 and Tannaim3351 reported that God created the world «only by an act of speech»; indeed, one Tannaitic title for God was «the One who spoke and summoned the universe into being.»3352 Although «this utterance did not receive the connotation of 'Logos' in the Philonic sense» and «was not hyposta-tized,»3353 many have found the background for John's creative Logos wholly or partly in the creative word of Genesis, whose «beginning» John 1evokes.3354
Texts connect creation by Gods word with creation by his wisdom3355 or Torah. In one exegetically ingenious early tradition, God's ten words on which the world was founded («And he said» occurs ten times in a portion of the creation narrative)3356 represent the Ten Commandments.3357 Building on Prov 8, it was only natural that subsequent texts should attribute creation to divine Wisdom, for example, in Wis 7(Wisdom as the τεχνίτης of all things; cf. Heb 11:10).3358 And if to Wisdom, then naturally also to Torah, especially among those who became Torah's most prominent expositors.3359 Not only was the world created by Word, Wisdom, and Torah, it was sustained by Word,3360 Wisdom,3361 and Torah.3362 Later rabbis interpreted this in a very practical sense, rather than simply theoretically: the world was sustained through the practice of Torah,3363 hence in some sense through the righteous.3364 Thus as sages could declare that the world was created for Torah,3365 some could also declare it was created for the righteous3366 or Israel3367 who would practice Torah; some texts claimed that it was created for humanity rather than the reverse.3368 (Greco-Roman thought also speculated on the purpose of creation, whether for gods and mortals,3369 for humanity,3370 or clearly not for that purpose.)3371
John here affirms what the earliest suspected pre-Pauline creeds had affirmed in the first two decades of the church's existence: Jesus is the Father's agent in creation (1Cor 8:5–6; Col 1:15–17).3372 Like most of those creeds (see above), John identifies Jesus with incarnate Wisdom. (See the introductory section to the prologue, above, for a more detailed discussion of various proposed backgrounds for the Logos.) «All things» (πάντα)3373 emphasizes Jesus' priority, hence supremacy, over whatever is created (3:35; 13:3; cf. Rev 4:11), hence over all humanity (17:2), whether or not humanity acknowledged it (1:10–11).
The Word as Life and Light (1:4–5)
Commentators dispute the proper syntactical sense of ό γέγονεν at the end of 1:3. Should we read the phrase with the rest of v. 3, as in, «apart from him nothing came into being that has come into being; in him was life»?3374 Or should we read the phrase with v. 4, «apart from him nothing came into being; what came into being through him was life»?3375 Church fathers and later manuscripts that are punctuated suggest that those generations thought the latter view makes better sense of the Greek.3376 A somewhat parallel Semitic construction in the Manual of Discipline may, however, support the former reading;3377 one would not expect later Greco-Christian writers to recognize such a construction. (Other exegetical options have sought to circumvent these alternatives.)3378 Ultimately the syntax contributes less to our grasp of John's sense than the context contributes; since John identifies «life» with «light» (1:4; 8:12), and «light» contextually refers to Christ (1:9–10), we must understand that on a functional level «life» is ultimately Jesus himself ( 11:25; 14:6; cf. 3:15; 5:24).
This verse introduces the light/darkness dualism of the rest of the Gospe1. Both light (1:4, 5, 7, 8, 9; 3:19, 20, 21; 5:35; 8:12; 9:5; 11:9, 10; 12:35, 36, 46) and day (9:4), darkness (1:5; 3:19; 8:12; 12:35,46) and night (9:4; 11:10) appear regularly throughout the Gospel, sometimes even with symbolic significance in the narratives (e.g., 3:2; 13:30; 19:39; perhaps 6:19).3379 The verse also introduces the theme of life, which appears some thirty-five times in the Gospe1.3380
This passage creates a literary chain (life, life, light, light, darkness, and darkness) called a sorites. Such a pattern also appears in Wis 6:17–20,3381 though it is not limited to wisdom texts.3382 For John, «life» and «light» are not simply abstractions: the Life raises Lazarus (11:25,43–44); the Light gives light to blind eyes (9:5–7); the Word becomes flesh (1:14).
1. Uses of Light Imagery
Light/darkness dualism figures heavily in gnosticism,3383 but is no less pervasive in earlier sources.3384 Philosophers spoke of true knowledge as providing light;3385 Philo regarded God as light and the archetype of all other kinds of light.3386 Writers commonly applied to good and evil the contrast between light and darkness.3387 One мая also compare the vision of God in various texts.3388
A figurative use of light appears frequently in the OT3389 and in the non-Johannine Gospel tradition dependent on the OT.3390 A variety of Jewish sources employ darkness and light figuratively for evil and good respectively3391 or with reference to enlightenment in wisdom,3392 but it was the Dead Sea Scrolls which decisively moved NT scholars away from seeking a gnostic background for Johns «light/darkness» dualism.3393 Like John, the Dead Sea Scrolls also use «day» figuratively with «light,» and «night» with «darkness.»3394
Jewish teachers applied light and darkness imagery to a variety of specific occasions, all of which reflect a common appreciation for the goodness of light and a common disdain for the dangers of darkness (e.g., Job 18:5,18; 24:13,16; also in early Christian texts, e.g., Rom 2:19; 13:12; 2Cor 6:14; Eph 1:18; 4:18; 5:8, 11; 6:12; Col 1:13). The image applied to the primeval light before or from the creation,3395 a concept of possible relevance in the context of John 1:1–4.3396 (In Gen 1:3, the light came at Gods word, a tradition that continued to be developed.)3397 Because this light would be restored,3398 it also was connected with OT images of eschatological light and glory.3399 Other Jewish teachers regularly called particularly righteous sages or other persons lights (cf. John 5:35; Matt 5:14),3400 including Abraham,3401 Jacob,3402 Moses,3403 David,3404 and ultimately the Messiah;3405 the designation also could be applied to Israel,3406 Jerusalem,3407 the temple,3408 or to God himself.3409
But in the context of John's prologue, it seems particularly relevant to observe that Jewish literature portrays both Wisdom3410 and Torah3411 as light (e.g., Ps 119:105, 130; Prov 6:23), as many commentators note.3412 Jesus as God's Word, Wisdom, and Torah is light to enlighten God's people, just as Torah was light offered to God's people at Sinai. «Light of people» (1:4) means light for humanity (3:19), light for «the world» (9:5). Early Christians came to consistently apply the image of transition from darkness to light to a transfer from Satan's realm to God's at a believer's conversion (Acts 26:18; 2Cor 4:6; Col 1:13; 1Pet 2:9; cf. Luke 1:79). In John's prologue, this light relates to glory (1:14), as in Rev 18:1; 21:23.3413
2. Jesus as the Life
John often speaks of «life» (5:25, 26, 29; 6:33, 57, 63; 11:26; 14:6, 19; 17:3; 20:31; cf. 4:50; 6:44) or of «eternal life» (3:15, 16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:21, 24, 39, 40; 6:27,40, 47, 48; 6:51, 53, 54, 58,68; 8:12; 10:10, 28; 11:25; 12:25, 50; 17:2);3414 although Judaism typically understood this as a future experience, John applies present tense verbs to it (3:16,36; 5:24; 6:47, 54; cf. 14:19), connecting it with faith (3:15, 16, 36; 6:27–29, 40, 47; 11:25, 26; 20:31) and following (8:12) in the present. Jesus' resurrection brings this life to believers (14:19; 20:22). Jesus embodies life because he embodies the truth and the way to God ( 14:6), roles which Judaism traditionally associated with Wisdom and Torah, God's gracious instruction for the ways of life.3415
In numerous Jewish texts, Wisdom (cf. Prov 3:18; 13:14)3416 and Torah3417 provide or embody life, as modern scholars often observe.3418 Some Jewish texts mention the availability of both life and light in Torah.3419 The tradition of life in Torah probably derives from OT promises that if one obeyed the law one would live (Lev 18:5; Deut 30:6,19); although the texts themselves apply to long life on the land (Deut 4:1, 40; 5:33; 8:1; 30:16, 19–20) and many interpreted them accordingly,3420 it was natural to read them (as some later rabbis did) by means of qal vaomer (the «how much more» argument) as applying to the world to come.3421 Ultimately, God was Israel's life (Deut 30:20), meaning in context, the one who would bless the people to live long in the land if they obeyed his commandments.
«Light» and «life» were natural images to use together. Greek texts regularly spoke of those who died as banished from the «light,»3422 recognizing the darkness of the shadowy netherworld of deceased souls.3423 One could also speak of a beloved person as «the light of our life.»3424 Hebrew poetry employed the same image conjoining «light» and «life,»3425 probably suggesting a shared eastern Mediterranean imagery of death and the netherworld. It is possible that the mention of «life» also continues the Genesis allusions (Gen 2:7; cf. John 20:22), like «the beginning» (1:1; Gen 1:1), creation (1:3; Gen 1:1); probably also God's speech or word (1:1–18; Gen 1:3–6, 8–11, 14, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28–29) and light versus darkness (1:4–5; Gen 1:3–5).
3. Light Prevails over Darkness
Antithesis was a typical rhetorical form in both Greek and Jewish thought3426 and particularly relevant in a setting whose language implies a sort of moral dualism, as here.
Darkness appears as a negative symbol in most ancient literature,3427 including later Jewish texts.3428 The struggle between light and darkness and their respective hosts is quite evident in the Dead Sea Scrolls; the current conflict between the two, darkness appearing to hold the upper hand in the world,3429 would be resolved in favor of the sons of light at the final battle.3430 As one early Christian writer declares, «Let not light be conquered by darkness, Nor let truth flee from falsehood.»3431
The language of John 1indicates some sort of conflict between light and darkness, but the nature of the conflict is disputed. Does κατέλαβεν mean that darkness could not «apprehend» the light intellectually (so Cyril of Alexandria),3432 that darkness did not accept the light,3433 or that darkness could not «conquer» the light (Origen and most Greek Fathers)?3434 More than likely John, whose skill in wordplays appears throughout his Gospel, has introduced a wordplay here: darkness could not «apprehend» or «overtake» the light, whether by comprehending it (grasping with the mind) or by overcoming it (grasping with the hand).3435 (Playing on different senses of a term [or different terms spelled the same way] was a rhetorical device that some rhetoricians called traductio.)3436 Johns language мая adapt similar language (though lacking this wordplay) in Wis 7:30, where evil cannot overpower Wisdom even though night overtakes day.3437 To the extent that the verb tense indicates a specific historical application beyond its general application to history, the past action probably summarizes the whole of Jesus' incarnate ministry;3438 the darkness thus implies Jesus' opposition among «the Jews» (cf. 1:11) and in the «world» in general which they represent.3439 One will not be «overcome» by darknes if one walks in the light (12:35), which penetrates darkness and exposes what is in that darkness (cf. Eph 5:13).
John Only a Witness (1:6–8)
The prologue is emphatic in its contrast between John and Jesus, as between creation and creator: the world was made (έγένετο) «through him» (Jesus) in 1:3. When the prologue declares that «through him» (John) all might believe (in Jesus) in 1:6, it notes that he came (έγένετο) for that purpose. In our introduction to the prologue, we observed that most of the prologue could constitute a hymn in three equal sections of twelve lines, if the lines about John were excluded. Most reconstructions of the original form of the prologue that exclude any part of it exclude the lines about John. Whether or not the prologue was written as a seamless whole, it is likely that the material about John (whom we shall sometimes call «the Baptist,» to distinguish him from the author to whom the Gospel is traditionally attributed) was present in the prologue from the time it became part of the Fourth Gospe1. (The lines about John мая in part be woven into the rest of the prologue to connect it with the historical ministry of Jesus beginning in 1:19.3440 John, like Mark and some examples of the apostolic preaching in Acts, starts the gospel narrative with the Baptist.)3441
In a prologue which features the cosmic and préexistent Christ, lines about the Baptist seem hopelessly out of place to modern readers. The question we must thus ask is the function the Baptist material serves for John's implied readers, the first community he was addressing. Two theories commend the most attention: the author contrasts the prophet John with the supreme Lord because some contemporaries were exalting John inappropriately; or the author uses John to serve a broader symbolic function (like the function that many attribute to the beloved disciple), namely, the importance of a witness. Both theories merit attention and both мая be correct; the acceptance of either does not logically exclude the possibility of the other.
1. Polemic against a Baptist Sect
Writers in the early twentieth century advanced the thesis that the Fourth Gospel's portrayal of John the Baptist represented Johannine polemic against the Baptist's followers.3442 Reitzenstein and his followers, like Bultmann, accepted medieval claims of the Mandean sect to have grown directly from a movement founded by John the Baptist. Because the Mandeans were both anti-Christian and anti-Jewish, Reitzenstein doubted that their source was Christian or Jewish, and regarded their source of traditions later related to Christianity as deriving from the Baptist.3443 Such an application of the criterion of dissimilarity is unwarranted, however, for several reasons: first, many gnostic sects were anti-orthodox Christian or anti-Jewish yet sprang from orthodox Christian or Jewish roots.
Second, the Baptist's own traditions would hardly be anti-Jewish; and if the character of the traditions could be modified after John's time to yield anti-Judaism, why could they not have also originated in a later period? Third, all evidence for Mandean belief is too late to be of value; like supposed evidence in the Slavonic Josephus, it is medieva1.3444 If we recognize Jewish or orthodox Christian roots in anti-Jewish and anti-orthodox gnostic texts as early as the second century, how much more should we reject Reitzenstein's suggestion of Mandean doctrinés independence based on its anti-Christian character? Bultmann thinks that the Fourth Gospel has christianized material originally applied to John the Baptist by adding 1:6–8, 15, and possibly 1:17;3445 but this postulates that followers of the Baptist had ideas for which we lack a shred of first-century evidence, and against which in fact is any evidence we do have (such as Acts 19:3–5).
Still, the text suggests an intentional contrast between Jesus and John, and a polemical agenda is difficult to dismiss. Other texts in the Fourth Gospel reinforce this impression. The Baptist waxes eloquent in 3:27–36 concerning Jesus' obvious superiority; cf. also 1:15, 24–27, 29–34; 4:1; 5:36; 10:41. (Some see in such texts a sign of positive relations between John's community and the Baptist sect,3446 but one wonders how positively Johannine Christians would view a sect that they considered to have defective Christology and thus soteriology; cf. 14:6.) One мая ask why the Baptist, as distinct from other characters, should need to be so self-effacing. If one responds that it is merely because he appears to be the only unambiguously positive witness in the Gospel, we мая point to the beloved disciple and ask why he is not similarly self-effacing. It is reasonable to suppose that our author was concerned about John's reputation vis-â-vis that of the Lord. Further, in contrast to the Synoptics, where the Baptist's ministry paves the way for that of Jesus but the ministries overlap little, the Fourth Gospel overlaps the period of the two ministries (3:23–24).3447 Conflicts with followers of the Baptist could stand behind this difference, whether the Synoptics minimized the overlap or (more likely) John emphasized it, or both.3448 More important, Painter has demonstrated the polemical intention of 1:6–8 by contrasting its various assertions with the prologués much greater confessions of Jesus.3449
The later Mandeans were clearly not the only sect that appropriated the Baptist as a founder; Acts 19attests Ephesian disciples of John still unacquainted with the full teachings of the Jesus movement, who apparently emigrated from Palestine before Jesus' resurrection and settled in the region of John's probable provenance.3450 Further, a polemic against John the Baptist appears in the Pseudo-Clementines (e.g., 2.17), which affirm both Jesus' superiority to the Baptist and Peter's superiority over Pau1.3451 The Fourth Gospel, however, is nearly a century earlier than our earliest extant documents claiming the Baptist's messiahship; do we place more weight on Acts 19's reference to the Baptist's disciples than the text can bear?3452
Yet despite the generally positive treatment of the Baptist, his exalted abasement is part of a larger polemic. His positive water ritual is inferior to Jesus' baptism in 1:26, 33, but this contrast represents part of a much more thoroughgoing contrast between Jewish purification and water rituals on the one hand and Jesus' purification on the other. Followers of the Baptist are not those who deify John; like adherents of other purification rituals, however (Jews, ch. 2; Samaritans, ch. 4), they мая diminish the role of Jesus.3453 This suggestion would allow the Baptist polemic to function merely as a subsidiary issue in the overall conflict with synagogue authorities many have postulated (see introduction).
An examination of other Johannine literature, particularly the reports implying current situations in Revelation's letters to the seven churches, allows us to reconstruct a possible Sitz im Leben for the polemic reducing John's status as compared with that of Jesus. If the Johannine Epistles reflect a stage in the community's development not far advanced beyond that reflected in our present form of the Gospel, some charismatics мая have found reason to appeal to a lesser Christology than that to which the Johannine charismatics held. These false prophets probably advocated compromise with the synagogue or (more likely) the imperial cult to avoid Roman harrassment and to fit in with civic life (1 John 4:1; cf. the idolatry of 5:21; cf. the prophets of Rev 2:14, 20).3454 That they nicknamed their own prophetic mentors «Balaam» or «Jezebel» is unlikely;3455 they might have sought a figure respected by both the early Christian and the broader Jewish communities. John the Baptist would suggest a strong role model for them–a prophet who shared their pneumatology and perhaps respect for Christ as traditional Christians did, but allegiance to whom would not demand the high Johannine Christology accepted by the Johannine community, whose exclusivism functioned as an affront to the synagogue community.
The author encourages his readers by responding that prophets such as John functioned as witnesses to Christs role, as should all true possessors of the Holy Spirit. If they considered themselves followers of the Baptist sect that мая have existed in Asian cities such as Ephesus (Acts 19:3), Revelation calls them instead followers of the evil prophet Balaam, who led Israel astray to practice idolatry (a term the Johannine community might even apply to an inadequate Christology; cf. 1 John 5:21)3456 and fornication (which мая apply to spiritual harlotry in Rev 2:14,20–21).3457 If the false prophets used the Baptist as a model, our author responds by viewing them as a subsidiary part of Judaism and its old purifications. The true Spirit baptism that John proclaimed belongs to Jesus and his followers; the true Baptist pointed to Jesus as Gods agent, to the true Spirit baptism, and to Jesus as the divine bestower of the Spirit. That our author directs against possible Baptist secessionists the same water motif polemic he employs against the synagogue suggests that in his eyes the faith of the Baptist's adherents was little beyond that of the synagogue: inadequate.
2. John as a Witness
John was «not the light,» but a witness for the light (1:8; cf. 5:35). As in the rest of the Gospel, John here functions primarily or solely as a witness to Jesus (1:31; 3:28–30; 5:33)3458–a theme in the Fourth Gospel that extends far beyond whatever significance the author attaches to its particular application to the Baptist. The writer мая thus use the Baptist to introduce his theme of witness;3459 the Word is the ultimate truth for all of human history, but is made known through witnesses, of which John the Baptist was one historical example. John the Baptist thus functions in the Fourth Gospel «as the prototype of Jesus' disciples,»3460 or as Dodd puts it, «the evangelist is claiming the Baptist as the first Christian confessor,' in contrast to the view represented in the Synoptic Gospels that he was not 'in the Kingdom of God.'»3461
That the Fourth Gospel's portrayal of the Baptist serves the Gospel's agenda does not mean that the Baptist historically never testified to Jesus. But that Josephus does not mention such a component of the Baptist's ministry is hardly surprising, since Josephus regularly plays down messianic ideology or casts messianic figures in a negative light.3462 Indeed, all our sources emphasize only those aspects of the Baptist's ministry most useful to their presentation; Josephus tones down the Synoptic picture of John the prophet of eschatological judgment (as he tones down that aspect of the Essenes), essentially reducing him «to a popular moral philosopher in the Greco-Roman mode, with a slight hint of a neo-Pythagorean performing ritual lustrations.»3463 Probably without Johns polemic, the Synoptics also indicate that the Baptist testified to Jesus. But the Fourth Gospel casts John in this role so thoroughly that one suspects it has reason to do so.
Given the rejection of their faith by synagogue leaders whom they had respected, members of the Johannine community must have welcomed the Fourth Gospel's provision of witnesses testifying to the truth of their Lord;3464 the motif recurs throughout the Gospe1.3465 «Witness» was especially a legal term,3466 but the term's figurative extension naturally led to a more general usage.3467 In the LXX the term indicates an appeal to objective evidence,3468 and frequently appears in lawcourt or controversy imagery.3469 Personal testimony implied firsthand knowledge (usually historical3470 but occasionally revelatory).3471 Against some commentators,3472 John's usage мая retain some legal associations,3473 especially if, as many contend, the whole Gospel is viewed as a trial narrative.3474 As Painter concludes, «The World had Jesus on trial, but was unable to produce a valid witness. Jesus' witnesses not only cleared him of all charges; their evidence brought the world under judgement.»3475 In some early Jewish texts prophets also appear as «witnesses» (cf. Acts 10:43; 1Pet 1:11–12).3476
Here John came so «all» might believe through him; John s mission as depicted elsewhere limits the force of this language; the «all» in a testimony to «all» could be limited by context (3:26).3477 Jesus is for «all» (1:9; cf. 5:23,28; 11:48; 12:19), and his witness must likewise impact all (13:35). John was «sent» from God (1:6),3478 fitting the shaliach theme of the Gospel (see introduction), but also reflecting the tradition that he fulfilled (Mal 3:1; see Luke 7:27).
Long before the advent of the current emphasis on literary criticism, Karl Barth noted that the verses about the Baptist (1:6–8,15) which intrude so noticeably on the rest of the prologue are there for a purpose. By standing out from the rest of the prologue,3479 he proposed, they draw our attention to the issue, «the problem of the relation between revelation and the witness to revelation.»3480 The literary purpose of beginning the Gospel with a witness, John (1:6–8, 15, 19–51), and closing with another witness (whom tradition also calls John, 19:35; 21:24), seems to be to underline the importance of witness for the Johannine community. If God was invisible till Jesus revealed him (1:18), he and Jesus would now remain invisible apart from the believing community modeling in their lives the character of Jesus (1 John 4:12; John 13:35; 17:21–23).
The World Rejects the Light (1:9–11)
The light could overcome darkness, and a witness was provided so people could believe the light. When the light came to them, however, «the world» as a whole rejected the light; even Christ's own people as a whole rejected him. The remnant who did embrace him, however, would be endued with the light's character, so they, too, might testify of the light (cf. 1:12–14).
1. The True Light Enlightens Everyone (1:9)
In contrast to John (1:8), who was merely a «lamp» (5:35), Jesus was the true light itself (1:9). In this Gospel, adjectives signifying genuineness can apply to Jesus' followers (1:47; 8:31; cf. 1 John 2:5), but most often apply to Jesus (5:31; 6:32, 55; 7:18; 8:14; 15:1; cf. 7:26; Rev 3:7) or the Father (3:33; 7:28). In a pagan environment with pluralistic options, designating God as the «true» God (17:3; 1 John 5:20; 1 Thess 1:9) made sense; when contrasting Jesus with lesser alternatives in a Jewish context–here John the Baptist–the designation remained valuable.
Philosophers applied «enlightenment» to the revealing of philosophical truth;3481 Jewish people applied it to the gift of Torah;3482 and early Christians applied it especially to the reception of the gospe1.3483 But does John refer here to universal availability to those to whom witness is offered, or to a portion of the Logos revealed to all people with or without the gospel testimony?3484 In contrast to the purpose of Johns testimony stated in 1:7, Jesus' role in 1does not limit the sense of «every person»; unlike John, Jesus is the light and the Word itself (1:8–9).3485 Yet «every person» could mean «any person,» indicating universal availability in the relevant cases;3486 given the variation of usage for such common terms, lexical meanings cannot decide the sense of this verse.
Our answer to the question of the extent and nature of Jesus' enlightenment of humanity мая depend in part on what we do with «coming into the world» at the end of v. 9. The phrase «come into the world» can suggest either birth (of people)3487 or other kinds of origination,3488 but indicates a historical moment rather than an eternal process (cf. 1 John 4:1–6).
Grammatically, the masculine or neuter singular participle can refer either to the light or to «every person.» If the participle applies to «every person,»3489 it could be meant to make «every person» more emphatic, underlining its absolute universality. In favor of this reading is the natural flow of the syntax from an immediate antecedent. On this reading, we might at least consider Glasson's comparison of a rabbinic tradition in which God teaches the law to children in the womb.3490 But Greek antecedents are decided by form more than by proximity, and, as noted above, form is indecisive here. John's usage is ultimately determinative; normally he speaks of Christ coming into the world, not of others.3491 As opposed to the later and rarer picture of prenatal Torah study, a much more widespread and early Jewish tradition мая parallel John's picture of the Light coming into the world enlightening all: God making available the light of his Word to all nations at a specific historical point at Mount Sinai.3492
That «coming into the world» applies to the light rather than to «every person» is likely;3493 that on such a reading it refers in context to the incarnation is still more likely. «Coming into the world» would be an apt Johannine depiction of Jesus in view of the common application to him of έρχόμ€νος (1:15,27; 3:31; 6:14; 11:27; 12:13; cf. 2 John 7; Heb 10:37; Rev 1:4), although that term is not limited to Jesus (6:35), and entering the world also describes birth (16:21). The Father's mission sent Jesus into the world (3:17; 10:36; 12:47; 17:18); more specifically, he was the prophet «coming into the world» (6:14) and came into the world as light (3:19; 12:46; cf. 8:12); he entered the world at his birth (18:37). Further, the light was certainly «in the world» (1:10) in this context. Boismard points to the present form of the participle and concurs with many church fathers, who applied the phrase «to the various manifestations of the Word previous to the Incarnation.»3494 But Johns verb tenses elsewhere in the prologue hardly seem to model precision; and whereas 1 John can apply a perfect participle to the incarnation (4:2), 2 John employs the same present participle as here (2 John 7; cf. John 1:15; aorist participle in 1 John 5:6). Moreover, the entrance of light to which the Baptist testifies in this Gospel is the incarnate Christ, whose enfleshment is depicted as a new Sinai theophany only a few verses hence (1:14–18).
God did provide the light for all humanity in Jesus' incarnation, just as in Jewish tradition he provided the light of Torah to all nations at Sinai. But just as the nations rejected Torah, so the world rejected God's Word made flesh.
2. The World Knew Him Not (1:10)
The prologue compares the responses of the world and of Jesus' own, Israel, in 1:10–11.3495 The world created through Jesus (1:3) did not know him (1:10), and even became hostile to him (15:18–19); in light of the rest of the Gospel, this world included the initially ignorant Gentiles (cf. 4:42) but remained an object of Christ's loving mission (3:16–17; 4:42; 6, 51).3496 His own even more emphatically or deliberately rejected him (1:11); the word for «received» (1:11; cf. 14:3) probably bears the same sense as its more usual Johannine cognate, used by negation to imply deliberate rejection (3:32; 5:43; 12:48).3497
To know the Lord was to obey his ways (Jer 22:16); conversely, those who did not know the Lord were those who rejected him (1Sam 2:12; Isa 1:3; Jer 4:22; Hos 5:4; Luke 1:77).3498 In Johannine tradition, the world does not know the Father (16:3; 1 John 3:1), Jesus (John 16:3), the Spirit (14:17), nor the believers (1 John 3:1; believers, too, are not from this world, John 3:3, 8; cf. 1Cor 2.12).3499 The world's lack of knowledge of Jesus is echoed in following passages (1:26; 2:9); the world would reject those who did not belong to and stem from it (15:19). Jesus was in the world he had made (1:3), but the world as humanity alienated from God could not know him and remain the world.3500
Jewish views of Gentiles varied widely, from more positive Diaspora to less positive sectarian Palestinian ideas.3501 Given Israel's sufferings at the hands of foreign empires, it seems natural that Jewish texts often reflect mistrust of Gentiles, viewing them as oppressors of God's people and violators of God's laws.3502 Many texts also indicate the damnation of the Gentiles in the end time.3503 After dividing views on the eschatological fate of Gentiles into six categories, Sanders recognizes that in postbiblical Jewish texts, especially those following the devastation of 70 C.E., «the deserved punishment of Israel» decreases while that of the Gentiles increases.3504 Other texts, however, require helping and greeting Gentiles for the sake of peace and honoring God's name.3505 Most teachers believed that righteous Gentiles could be saved without formal conversion to Judaism,3506 as long as they kept the Noahide laws.3507 In some traditions, God would convert all the Gentiles in the end time.3508 Nevertheless, many Diaspora Jews sought the conversion of Gentiles;3509 although these were not formal missionaries in the later Christian sense, their commitment had a visible impact in the ancient Mediterranean world.3510
Greek literature included the motif of the hero banished from a homeland or household, who first came secretly to overthrow the unjust power structures;3511 also of wise and good people like Socrates dedicated to the world who were killed by the world.3512 Greeks spoke of gods unrecognized among mortals and Jewish texts speak similarly of angels;3513 John's motif of the hidden Messiah and the Markan motif of the Messianic Secret мая also be relevant, as is Q tradition about Jesus' rejection (Matt 8:20; Luke 9:58). Most relevantly, however, wisdom tradition specifically remarked on the rejection of Wisdom on the earth.3514 Jewish Torah tradition likewise stressed that God offered his Torah–his Word– to all nations; but the nations rejected it because they wished to continue in their sins. Finally, however, Israel came and accepted Torah.3515 Some later rabbis contended that because only Israel received Torah, only Israel was freed from the sin nature infused in Eve through her intercourse with the serpent.3516 The nations would be judged for not practicing Torah;3517 lest they protest that they had not received Torah, God gave all humanity seven basic commandments in the time of Noah, and Gentiles would be judged for their disobedience to them.3518
3. His Own Received Him Not (1)
John declares that the Jewish people as a whole did not embrace Jesus any more than the Gentiles did; «his own» could refer in some texts to possessions (16:32; 19:27), but here refers to his people (cf. 10:3–4, 12).3519 This verse introduces the inadequate response of most of ethnic Israel to Jesus (hostile among the leaders, divided among the people) that became a theological problem for parts of early Christianity (Rom 3:3; 11:1, 11). It also provides the transition to speaking of the remnant of Israel and the Gentiles who would become proselytes to it or, in Pauline language, be grafted into it (John 1:12–13; cf. Rom 11:17, 24). Here John's message conflicts with Jewish tradition, which emphasized that after the seventy nations had rejected Torah, Israel alone embraced it;3520 Israel alone was suitable to receive it.3521 Jewish traditions of various dates emphasized the difference between Israel and the nations in the exodus event in other respects as wel1. For example, the pillar of fire gave light to Israel alone;3522 the revelation at Sinai frightened the whole world until Balaam explained that God was revealing himself to his children;3523 multiple angels crowned each Israelite at Sinai.3524 Even after their initial acceptance, Israel continued to obey Torah, in contrast to the nations around them, and in many traditions God accepted their obedience as entirely satisfactory.3525 And though the rabbis and other Jewish expositors unquestionably amplified it, the special role of Israel nevertheless is attested from the very beginning of the biblical narrative of salvation.
Yet Jewish people recognized that their ancestors had not always kept Torah. When even Israel, who had received Torah at Sinai, disobeyed Torah in the time of the Judges, one early Jewish tradition declares that God wanted to wipe out the whole world.3526 Even later Jewish sources, which could take for granted the tradition that Israel alone embraced Torah at Sinai, recognized that Israel transgressed Torah and merited discipline.3527
That God's chosen people who celebrated Torah rejected Torah in flesh constitutes a central ecclesiological motif throughout the Fourth Gospe1. As Culpepper observes, John introduces this «foundational irony of the gospel … at the outset.»3528 Israel's rejection presents a crisis, for receiving Christ in the terminology of this Gospel is essential to salvation (1:12).3529 Ultimately, «his own» would be defined as those who heed his message (10:3–4), those who were truly in covenant relationship with him.
Those Who Received Him (1:12–13)
The mild adversative δέ, after the statement of rejection, could contrast with the rejection of both world and Israel ( 1:10–11 ), or primarily with that of Israel (1:11); the latter would imply that John focuses especially on the Jewish remnant in 1:12–13, since it comprises a majority of his intended readership.3530 In either case, «receiving» the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel embraces the mystery of God's power revealed in weakness and submitting to the revealing Lord of the universe regardless of the cost. «Receiving» Jesus in 1:11–12 can mean welcoming him as God's agent, for example, 5:43; 12:48; 13(cf. the Spirit in 14:17; 20:22); whatever other associations it might imply (e.g., connections with Torah or with early Christian missionary language, e.g., 2 John 10; 3 John 10; cf. Matt 10:40–41; Rom 16:2; Gal 4:14; Phil 2:29), the language is rooted in the vocabulary of early Christian soteriology (Col 2:6; for the Spirit, Acts 2:33; 8:17; 10:47; Rom 8:15; 1Cor 2:12; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 3:2,14).3531
1. Believers as God's Children (1:12)
John's mission was to lead others to «believe» in Jesus (1:7), including revealing Jesus to Israel (1:31). Believing in Jesus' name probably represents an allusion to the divine name.3532 The «Name» was a circumlocution for God,3533 involving his honor.3534 His name was thus to be hallowed as sacred,3535 not to be named or sworn by.3536 Despite some early Jewish and Christian protests,3537 however, many sought to exploit the power of God's name in magical and/or exorcistic incantations.3538 (For more on the «name,» see comment on 14:13–14.) The righteous are to trust in Gods name;3539 believing in Jesus' name hence implies trusting in him as deity.3540 In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus comes in his Father's name, that is, as his agent (5:43; 12:13; 17:11–12),3541 works in the Father's name (10:25), and seeks to glorify his Father's name (12:28; 17:6, 26). His followers are to believe in Jesus' name (1:12; 2:23; 3:18), receive life in his name (20:31), ask in his name (14:13–14; 15:16; 16:23), and expect to suffer for his name (15:21). Aside from 2(cf. 1 John 3:23; 5:13), «believing in his name» appears only in the strategic passage 3and in the first and (by implication) last references to faith in the Gospel (1:12; 20:31), allowing John to combine motifs at these strategic points and probably to stress the necessity of embracing God's agent. (3:16–18 is also the one passage that repeats the prologués μονογενής, explicitly recalling it; cf. 1 John 4:9.)
Different segments of Mediterranean antiquity would read «children of God» in different ways. Bultmann derives the language from the Mysteries, to whose usage he wrongly at tributes the eschatological sense he thinks implied in this text.3542 Those influenced by Greco-Roman philosophy, for instance, could view good people as offspring of God,3543 or speak of God's fatherhood of humanity, or the universe in terms of creation (cf. Acts 17:27–29).3544 The image of the supreme deity as father of creation was also much broader than among the philosophers, filling classical Greek literature3545 as well as sources closer to the period of early Christianity.3546 Philo concurs that God is father of humanity by virtue of creation,3547 as did other hellenized early Jewish and Christian sources (cf. Acts 17:27–29).3548 Likewise in Philo, possessors of wisdom are God's friends, not his slaves; by adoption such a person becomes God's «only son» (αύτω μόνος υιός).3549 In other texts as well, those who have knowledge of God are his children, though this does not divinize them.3550 One becomes a child of God by God's divine imprint, which imparts to humans both mind and reason; but this philosophical sense is hardly comparable to John's usage.3551
John's usage appears closer to Palestinian Jewish texts like the Dead Sea Scrolls,3552 Psalms of Solomon,3553 and other Jewish texts less dominated by Hellenistic philosophy,3554 where the Jewish people as a whole were God's children. (The Wisdom of Solomon declares both the righteous3555 and Israel3556 to be sons of God.) The Jewish conception of God's fatherhood to Israel is much more intimate than the generally distant language of Hellenistic ritua1.3557 Often early texts apply sonship language specifically to Israel's status in the eschatological time,3558 but the title belongs to God's people by virtue of their identity and is not restricted in early Judaism to eschatological uses.
Our more abundant (but generally later) rabbinic texts naturally amplify the breadth of traditional descriptions. Torah мая in some sense make people God's children,3559 presumably through their obedience to it. Following imagery in the Hebrew Bible,3560 rabbinic expositions and parables frequently identify Israel as God's child3561 or his children.3562 In the late second century, R. Judah insisted that the people of Israel are God's children when they obey as children should; R. Meir objected that they were God's children either way.3563 i Some texts acknowledge that a few teachers had a special sonship relationship with God, although these represent a minority of rabbinic sonship texts.3564
Given the prominence of Jewish traditions in the Fourth Gospel, we should recognize a contrast between Jewish claimants to the «children of God» title (1:11) and its true heirs, those who follow Torah in the flesh (cf. 3:3–6; 8:35–44).3565 That is, believers in Jesus (who in John's circle were probably largely Jewish or viewed themselves as adherents of a Jewish faith) assume the covenant role granted Israel as a people, because it is these believers in Jesus who perform the role assigned to Israel in the covenant. Given the adoption of the synagogués «Father» title for God3566 in early Christianity3567 (including the earliest Aramaic-speaking church),3568 John here concurs with earlier Christian tradition.3569
Johns later interpretation of Caiaphas's prophecy refers to God's children scattered abroad (11:52; whether this applies to Diaspora Jews or to Christians is disputed).3570 Jesus calls the disciples «children» in typically Johannine (cf. 1 John 2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21; 3 John 4) idiom for teacher-disciple affection (13:33). God's people are «children of light» (12:36), as in the idiom of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But in the Fourth Gospel, others are born from above to be like Jesus from above (3:3–13); becoming children of God means sharing the same Father with Jesus (20:17).
The term εξουσία can be translated «right» or «freedom» as well as «authority.»3571 Their «authority» to become God's children (1:12) presumably emphasizes divine authorization to become what no human effort could accomplish3572 (cf. «authority» as authorization in 5:27; 10:18; 17:2; 19:10–11); only the revealer from above could truly induct them into the heavenly realm (3:13–18). Becoming God's children entails receiving the divine nature or character of which Jesus is the perfect image (see comment on 3:3–6). This contrast between divine authorization and human ability is plain in the text; God gave parents power to bring children into the world, but only his Spirit truly creates proselytes (3:6).3573
2. Not According to the Flesh (1:13)
That children were conceived in parental passion was an ancient commonplace (hence «the will of the flesh,» 1:13).3574 One Greek philosopher remarked that children need not be grateful to their parents for conceiving them; most parents acted from passion rather than forethought!3575 The «will of the flesh» probably also reflects the context's contrast between children born from God (1:12) and genetic Israel (1:11), whom some early Christians called Israel «according to the flesh» (Rom 2:28; 4:1; 9:3,5,8; 1Cor 10:18; Eph 2:11); such fleshly birth in Israel was inadequate before God (3:6). Such fleshly birth is not wrong and indeed impossible for humans to avoid (1:14), but it is inadequate without Spirit-birth (3:6; Gal 4:29). Although the contrast between Spirit and flesh is explicit only in 3and 6:63, the dualistic language (e.g., «above» and «below,» «light» and «dark») by which John contrasts the activity of God and the world reinforces the point here: crossing the boundary from the world's realm to God's realm is possible only by divine agency.
The «will of man"–άνδρός is distinctly masculine in Greek–probably refers to the father's authority in deciding to «have» a child: under Roman law, fathers could even order a child to be discarded after birth.3576 (Ancients also spoke of parental arrangement of marriage as «human wil1.»)3577 «From blood» signifies natural generation; to ask one from what blood (quo sanguine) one came was to ask from what parentage one had sprung.3578 The plural expression, «not from bloods» is curious, although the general sense is plain enough (not from human origins, like «not from flesh»).3579 Some classical writers did accept the possibility of superfetation–the addition of a new fetus during pregnancy through a new sexual partner–but this was not a confusion of blood providing the first fetus a dual paternity.3580 The Hebrew Bible employed the plural to indicate blood shed by murder,3581 an expression wholly removed from the sense here. Undoubtedly more to the point, some Greeks thought that the embryo was formed by the father's seed and the mother's blood,3582 or by the mingling of male and female seeds.3583 Thus the Hellenistic Jewish text Wisdom of Solomon declares that a human becomes flesh (σαρξ) by blood (έν αϊματι) from the seed of a man (έκ σπέρματος άνδρός) and the pleasure of sleep (ηδονής ϋπνω, i.e., intercourse).3584 John is declaring that what is born from the flesh is flesh; what is born from the Spirit is the new spirit of Ezek 36; see comment on John 3:6.3585 God's will is a major emphasis in this Gospel (4:34; 5:30; 6:38–40; 7:17; 9:31), and is implicitly contrasted with human will and probably human religion in 1(«born from God»).
This birth makes one a participant in the whole new creation inaugurated by the messianic woes undertaken by Jesus and his followers (16:21). Birth from God is discussed in greater detail under John 3:1–13, below. How was it possible for humans to be «born from God»? The chasm was unbridgeable from the human side; but God's divine Word became flesh in 1:14.3586 The narrativés logic implies a transferral: the Word that had been forever «with God» (1:1–2) became «flesh» (1:14) so others could be born not from flesh but from God (1:13; cf. 3:6).
The New Sinai (1:14–18)
Although we will explore various contexts for particular nuances of the text, the guiding imagery for 1:14–18 is from Exod 33–34, where God, in the context of giving Torah from Mount Sinai a second time, revealed his character to Moses. As in Exodus, in John's prologue the Word comes to God's people; but here the one who tabernacles among his people and whose glory is revealed is the Word (cf. similarly John 12:41). Here (as in 2Cor. 3) not Moses but the eyewitnesses of Jesus behold and testify to God's glory; and here the character of covenant love and faithfulness which is the substance of that glory is expressed in Jesus' enfleshment as a mortal human being, which enfleshment climaxes (in the course of the Gospel) in the cross. Many scholars have observed the points of contact between Exod 33–34 and John 1:14–18,3587 although not all have recognized the connection between John's Logos and Judaism's Torah that explicitly climaxes in this section (1:17–18).
1. The Revelation (1:14)
As God revealed his glory to Moses in Exod 33–34, «full of grace and truth,» so here he reveals his glory in Jesus to the disciples, whose mission is now to announce the more glorious new covenant.
1A. The Word's Incarnation (1:14)
Some have seen in John's announcement of the Word's incarnation a polemic against Hellenistic or gnostic ideas of an impassive deity.3588 To be sure, the highest God of Greek philosophy was not material or semi-material like the woundable deities of Homeric mythology.3589 Stoics, for instance, believed that «he is not of human shape»;3590 the nature of God is not «flesh» or «earth» but pure «reason» and intellect.3591 In contrast to Johannine theology (cf. 1 John 1:1), a Platonist could describe this divine intellect as «unnamed, unseen, untouched» (Maximus of Tyre Or. 11.9, trans. Trapp).3592 Nature could enable one to grasp aspects of God's character (hence the use of images), but God was far beyond nature (2.10).3593 As a later neoplatonist put it, God is reflected in the life of the wise but cannot be seen «through a body» (Porphyry Marc. 13.221–223).3594 Philós view of God's ineffability apparently even exceeds Stoic and neo-Pythagorean views, though reflecting natural developments from Plato.3595 Similarly, a gnostic deity would not be enfleshed; given the dangers of docetism in the early second and probably late first century, John could be confronting early gnosticism here.3596 (Ancients could describe an ideal king as a «living law» [νόμον εμψυχον, Musonius Rufus 8, p. 64.11–12],3597 an embodied personification of the law's values; but they recognized this as figurative language, not incarnation.)
That a docetic interpretation of the Jesus tradition would arise was almost inevitable once Christian teaching about Jesus' deity (see introduction on Christology) began circulating in a Hellenistic milieu. Thus pagan deities often came disguised as mortals,3598 usually helpfully, but sometimes to seduce mortals sexually or rape them,3599 sometimes to lure them to death,3600 sometimes as strangers testing hospitality3601 or testing whether a mortal would betray their theft.3602 But these examples hardly fit John's thought world. Even apart from the drastic theological differences, John's narrower milieu is early Judaism, and a less thoroughly hellenized early Judaism than one finds in Philo, Pseudo-Aristeas, Josephus, or other sources aimed at more Hellenistically, often philosophically, educated audiences.
Käsemann is certainly wrong to regard John as docetic,3603 as scholars today usually recognize.3604 John states the enfleshment specifically, and the verb indicates the enfleshment of his whole being, not a temporary or partial adoption of it as an envelope or covering3605 (cf. also other hints, e.g., in 4:6; 18:37). At the same time, John does not dwell on it; his consistent theme in the prologue is not the Word's enfleshment, but rather that the Word is deity. In other words, he does not expend space here on polemic against non-Jewish views of matter, but assuming a Jewish view of creation emphasizes instead that the Jesus of history is deity. (That the author or, on other views, a later author within this author's circle, had to combat such a view in 1 John 4is possible, though the established language of Christian tradition does not demand that interpretation–cf. Rom 1:3; 8:3; 9:5; 1Tim 3:16.)
Even some Palestinian Jewish texts could speak of God identifying with humanity to make them understand him3606 or coming down to humanity's level to vindicate his servants' decrees,3607 and sometimes even used the anthropomorphic circumlocution «man» to describe God,3608 as had some of their Hellenistic Jewish predecessors.3609 Despite some opposition,3610 anthropomorphic pictures of God became standard in the rabbinic movement.3611 But most of Judaism would have rejected any idea like God becoming flesh; by the early second century, in fact, some Jewish teachers found it necessary to polemicize against the idea.3612 Again, John s polemic is to stress that the Jesus of his followers is the divine Torah of Judaism, not to argue the nature of divine transcendence. «Flesh» indicates Christ's humanity (1:13; 3:6) and his solidarity with all humanity (e.g., 17:2; a Semitic idiom, e.g., Ps 145:21; Jer 32:27); it is valueless in itself for perceiving truth (3:6; 6:63; 8:15), but it is only in his flesh–his sharing human mortality–that people мая be saved (6:51, 53,54, 55, 56).3613
1B. The Word Tabernacled among Us (1:14)
Just as God «tabernacled» with his people in the wilderness, God's Word tabernacled among the witnesses of the new exodus accomplished in Jesus (see the introductory comment on the new exodus under 6:32–51).3614 Some suggest that the LXX translators мая have favored this particular Greek term for «tabernacle» because its consonants correspond to the Hebrew consonants for the Shekinah, God's presence.3615 That the image of the Word tabernacling among his people would have found a home among John's readers is suggested by the declaration of Sirach, which would have been well-known: The one who created wisdom caused her tabernacle (σκηνήν) to rest; thus she was to dwell (κατασκήνωσον) in Jacob.3616 Not long after this passage Sirach identifies Wisdom with Torah. The allusion would make sense to John s audience, who would recognize the contrast;3617 this Gospels later imagery from the feast of σκηνοπηγία, Tabernacles (7:2), would reinforce the wilderness background of the image, hence God's glory dwelling among his people.3618 The Johannine community probably understood this as the ideal, eschatological state as well (Rev 7:15; 21:3; cf. Heb 8:2).
Most Jewish thinkers viewed God's Spirit as immanent. Wisdom of Solomon mimics Stoic thought, declaring that God's «incorruptible Spirit is in all things (έν πάσι).»3619 Nevertheless, God's Shekinah or act of dwelling was sometimes linked with Torah,3620 and especially localized in some sense in the tabernacle3621 or temple;3622 it was uniquely connected with Israel among all nations,3623 especially in the exodus event when God's glory led his people forth.3624 Whether or not John's «tabernacled» implies any Jewish concepts surrounding the Shekinah (above), «glory» мая invite such associations.3625
In light of these various associations, John мая emphasize that Jesus, rather than the temple or tabernacle, is the true locus of God's activity among humanity (cf. 4120–24).3626 Especially after 70, when Diaspora Judaism no longer had a central temple to look to, this claim could constitute a powerful challenge to competing versions of Jewish faith.3627
1C. We Beheld His Glory (1:14)
As noted above, «glory» мая invite comparison with the related Jewish concept of Shekinah, which appears especially in rabbinic literature. These texts personify the Shekinah but do not hypostatize it; it functioned essentially as a circumlocution for God,3628 indicating his nearness.3629 God himself could be addressed as «Glorious One» (איש כנוך)3630 or called «The Glory of the World.»3631 Jewish readers familiar with such a complex of concepts would not have struggled with identifying «glory» as a revelation of God's character, as is implied in Exod 33–34 (see esp. Exod 33:19; 34:6–7). God's presence could be banished by sin3632 or invited by merit;3633 while John concurs with the image of the presence being withdrawn from the temple (cf. 8:59), the human embodiment of God's glory as Jesus of Nazareth is rooted in unmerited love (3:16; like Israel's redemption–Deut. 7:7–8; 9:5–6).
As in the Hebrew Bible (Isa 60:1–3), Judaism continued to associate an ultimate revelation of «glory» with the eschatological time.3634 Although John's eschatology is primarily realized, we мая nevertheless understand his point eschatologically: the climactic revelation of glory has occurred in Christ, as Torah has been revealed again in a new covenant (Isa 2:2–3; Jer 31:33).
«Glory» sometimes retains its common meaning of «honor» or «approval» (see esp. comment on 12:43);3635 Jesus, in contrast to his opponents, accepts this only from the Father (5:41,44; 7:18; 8:50,54; 9:24; 12:41,43; 16:14; 17:22). The Fourth Gospel applies Jesus' «glory» to various acts of self-revelation (his signs–2:11; 11:4,40),3636 but the ultimate expression of glory is the complex including Jesus' death (12:16, 23, 28; 13:31–32; cf. 21:19), resurrection, and exaltation (cf. 7:39; 12:16; 17:1, 5).3637 This glory thus becomes the ultimate revelation of «grace and truth»: where the world's hatred for God comes to its ultimate expression, so also does God's love for the world (3:16). If the Johannine community's opponents regarded the cross as proof that Jesus was not the Messiah, John regards Jesus' humiliation as the very revelation of God: his whole enfleshment, and especially his mortality and death, constitute the ultimate revelation of God's grace and truth revealed to Moses.3638
The first person plural could refer to the world; certainly his tabernacling «among us» could be construed in that manner (1:10–11; cf. 12:35), though it is noteworthy that Jesus allows specifically disciples to begin to «dwell» with him (1:38–39; 14:23). Thus believers come to share the same intimacy the Word had with the Father (1:1–2). But «we» in «we beheld» (έθεασάμεθα), though not emphatic, probably signifies this intimacy only by analogy and points in the first case to a more specific, historical referent. «Behold» and its synonyms3639 can apply both to seeing physically, which representatives of the world did (6:36; 15:24), and to seeing with eyes of faith (11:45; 14:7, 9; cf. 1 John 3:6; 3 John 11); but the latter is more likely here. Because Jesus revealed his glory in ways obscure to the elite but evident to the eyes of disciples (2:11; a continuing paradigm: 14:21–23), those who actually beheld his glory were those who came to believe him (11:40). The Johannine tradition also interprets the language with reference to the eyewitness of disciples (1 John 1:1–3), which fits the rest of this Gospel (19:35).
Thus the most natural construal of the first person plural, if all source theories are held in suspension, is that John includes himself among the eyewitnesses.3640 The eyewitnesses of the Words glory do not evoke the initiates of Hellenistic Mysteries,3641 but Moses, who beheld God's glory on Mount Sinai.3642 (Greco-Roman myth reflects the notion that if the chief deity revealed his glory, a mortal who saw it would be consumed,3643 and some ancient Israelite traditions reflect a similar conception.3644 But Moses saw and was transformed, not consumed.)3645 In other words, Jesus' eyewitnesses, including John, are mediators of a revelation greater than that of Moses but in a manner analogous to Moses; Paul depicts his own ministry in a similar manner in 2Cor. 3;3646 the transfiguration in the Synoptics likewise alludes to this revelation, though as a single event.3647 Although a connection between «light» and «glory» мая not have been obvious to all ancient readers, it is quite possible that John alludes to his portrayal of Jesus as «light» (l:4–9).3648 Those who could approach the prologue having heard the entire Gospel at least once would also think of others who saw the same glory Moses did, such as Isaiah in his vision in the temple (12:41; Isa 6:1–4).3649 In this context, at any rate, «glory» especially alludes to the revelation of God to Moses in Exod 33–34, which could also be pictured as shining (cf. Exod 34:29). Whereas many commentators (such as Glasson and Teeple) compare Jesus in the Fourth Gospel with Moses,3650 it is actually particularly his disciples who represent Moses, while Jesus parallels the glory that Moses witnessed on the mountain.
1D. The μονογενής Son (1:14,18)
Greek deities also speak of their «only» sons3651 or "beloved" sons,3652 but the plurality both of children and of deities that begot them would place this image outside the realm of Johannine thought and the Jewish sense of divine sonship on which it rests (see introduction on Christology). Arguing that the backdrop for John's conception is primarily Jewish, however, does not solve the question of what John means by μονογενής here.
Commentators dispute the significance of μονογενής; some follow the traditional translation «only begotten,»3653 whereas others object that this is not even a sound etymological reading of the term.3654 «Only begotten» fails the etymology test, as it would require a different word, μονογεννητός; μονογενής derives instead from a different root, γένος, leading to the meaning «one of a kind.»3655 This observation hardly settles the Johannine sense of the term, since usage rather than etymology determines word meanings in practice; but further analysis confirms the conclusion based on the term's derivation.
Many patristic writers read the term as «only begotten,»3656 but this мая say more about second-century Christology than about the semantic presuppositions shared between John and his original audience. «Only» is also a very old translation, appearing in some ancient versions3657 and some from the Reformation era.3658 «Only begotten» came into vogue through church councils and the rendering of the Latin Vulgate.3659 Other writers contemporary with John clearly used μονογενής to indicate uniqueness rather than procreation; Plutarch, for instance, notes that Aristotle denied a succession of worlds, supposing our world the only (μονογενής) one created.3660 Although the LXX attests that the term applies well to an only child (Judg 11:34; Tob 3:15; 6:11; 8:17), it applies also to other unique things (Ps 21:21; 24:16; 34:17 LXX)–most significantly for John, to divine Wisdom (Wis 7:22).
Although Jesus officially assumes the role of Son particularly at his resurrection in Paul and the apostolic preaching in Acts,3661 and at the exaltation in Hebrews,3662 Jesus' special relation to the Father exists in this Gospel long before his public, officiai glorification, probably in his preincarnate state.3663 Thus one cannot interpret μονογενής in light of Israelite or ancient Near Eastern texts about a ruler «begotten» at his enthronement (as with Ps 2in Acts 13:33);3664 the concept of «begetting» is not present. Even where writers like Philo apply to a cosmic being (the Logos or the universe) terms specifically indicating «birth» (e.g., «firstborn»), they are emphasizing role (e.g., the right of the firstborn, Ps 89:27), not procreation.3665
Μονογενής was generally (though not invariably) used of an only child3666 and probably corresponds to the Hebrew יחיד, which it translates at times in the LXX.3667 The term came to connote «beloved» as much as «only,» and it is this nuance which probably comes to the forefront in Johannine usage. יחיד also appears in rabbinic Hebrew as a synonym for בחר, «chosen.»3668 Not only was Israel God's «first-born» (Exod 4:22; Jer 31:9), his «only» child,3669 but Jewish literature routinely emphasizes that Israel was called «beloved»3670 (as were some of God's special servants3671 including Abraham,3672 Moses,3673 Samuel,3674 Joseph,3675 and Isaac3676 and the righteous in general).3677 (In the context of Johannine polemic, the Fourth Gospel could emphasize Jesus' uniqueness as over against claims for Israel as God's children;3678 but the phrase мая simply develop the image without directly challenging all of its nuances.) Because μονογενής often translates יחיד, and יחיד could also be rendered αγαπητός (as with Isaac, who was called יחיד though he was not technically Abraham's «only» son, Gen 22:2),3679 it was natural that μονογενής should eventually adopt nuances of αγαπητός in biblically saturated Jewish Greek.
For other reasons as well, the title «only» son came to mean particularly «beloved» son. Sons were specially loved, and this would apply particularly to an only son.3680 To be an only son was to be a uniquely loved son; the death of an only (μόνος) son could precipitate his parents' death from grief,3681 because the death of «only-children» (μονογενείς) was a particular tragedy.3682 Thus it was natural that the connotation «only» in time extended to those who were not only children, but who were specially beloved. To a lexicographer in the second century, a «beloved son» could be called «his father's only son,»3683 and a later lexicographer «defines a beloved (agapētos) son as monogenēs."'3684 For Philo, too, being God's «only» son meant being uniquely loved by him, as with Abraham (μόνος υιός)3685 or the created universe (τόν μόνον καΐ άγαπητόν … υίόν).3686 The adjective «beloved» further added special pathos in the case of death, as in the lament over a daughter on a Jewish funerary inscription from the Appian Way: Μαρία βρέφος άγαπητόν ή θυγάτηρ [Π]ροκοπίου.3687
In Jewish texts the title applies particularly to Isaac at the Akedah, of whom God said, «sacrifice your son, your 'only son,' whom you love,» in Gen 223688 According to Jewish teachers, «whom you love» reinforced the pathos of «your only son.»3689 As Josephus declares, «Isaac was passionately beloved (ύπερηγάπα) of his father Abraham, being his only son (μονογενή) and born to him 'on the threshold of old agé through the bounty of God.»3690 Among the handful of non-Johannine uses of the term in our earliest Christian texts, the only theologically significant use (cf. Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38) applies to Isaac (Heb 11:17). In John as in common Jewish usage, the «special» son is the «beloved» son (rather than «only begotten»),3691 and in John as in the oft-told Akedah, this emphasis on being the only one of his kind increases the pathos of the sacrifice (3:16).3692 And like that sacrifice, Jesus' incarnation represents a special act of loving obedience in view of the Son's special relationship with the Father depicted in this term.3693 Jesus, like the holy and understand-ing Spirit in the Wisdom of Solomon,3694 is μονογενής not in the sense of derivation but as unique and the special object of divine love. What is extraordinary is that in him, this same love becomes available to all who are his followers (17:23).
Christians, like Israel, are called God's children (1:12–13), but Jesus is the special Son, the «only one of his kind.»3695
1E. Full of Grace and Truth (1:14)
John's use of πλήρης is intelligible enough in Jewish Greek3696 without direct appeal to Stoic,3697 Philonic,3698 or gnostic technical usage of the πλήρωμα.3699 A more obvious back-ground lies nearer at hand: when God revealed his glory to Moses, he revealed that his character3700 was «abounding in covenant-love and faithfulness,» which translates naturally into John's Greek expression «full of grace and truth.»3701 The LXX admittedly rarely renders חסד as χάρις,3702 but textual analysis of John's citations indicates that he or his sources could translate directly from Hebrew at times yet expect his audience to recognize the quotation as Scripture.3703 Whereas έλεος often signified «undeserved favor» in the LXX, this usage receded in later times; early Christian literature typically employs χάρις in this sense, making it the natural term for John to apply.3704
Although the phrase recurs frequently in the Hebrew Bible3705 and appears elsewhere in Jewish texts,3706 the accumulation of allusions to Exod 33–34 in John 1:14–18 leaves little doubt that Johns phrase is a conscious allusion to the occurrence in that context (what we translated above as «abounding»). Thus we would suggest that the «fulness» probably modifies «glory»: «glory full of grace and truth.»3707 When God revealed his character of grace and truth at Sinai, it was incomplete; Moses saw only part of God's glory (Exod 33:20–23; John 1:18). But what was an incomplete revelation of grace and truth through Moses was completed through Christ (1:17).
Observing the climactic comparison in v. 17, some commentators have suggested not only a deliberate allusion to grace and truth present at the giving of Torah, but that John declares that these attributes were present in Christ and not in the law.3708 This suggestion, however, ignores the sense of continuity possibly suggested by the omission of an explicit adversative: Christ is the full embodiment of Torah, completing what was partial (but actually present) in Torah. Jesus Christ thus embodies the hope of Judaism. John does not encourage his community to forsake its Jewish past, but to recognize that in following Christ, the embodiment of Torah, his community fulfills the highest demands of Judaism. Conversely, the Jewish opponents, synagogue leaders who claim to speak for the Jewish community, have rebelled against the ultimate embodiment of Torah.
While both Greco-Roman philosophers and biblically oriented Jewish thinkers stressed «love for truth,»3709 the semantic range of אםח is quite different from that of άλήθεια, and we must thus examine to what extent John's usage reflects nuances informed by standard Greek usage (cf. 18:38) and to what extent it reflects translation Greek, betraying an original Hebraic sense related to the biblical phrase John employs (cf. 17:17). Both Greek and Jewish ideals stressed not lying under normal circumstances, providing a considerable area of overlap between them.3710 Despite the overlap, areas of contrast remain.
The Greek sense of truth involved especially knowledge,3711 sometimes religious knowl-edge;3712 it could also denote recognition of reality.3713 The Hebrew and traditional Jewish concept, conversely, was more apt to include moral truth3714 and to be identified with God's law.3715 אמת often stressed being «true» to onés word–truth as integrity or covenant faith-fulness3716–and is a central attribute of God's character.3717
Although some regard John's content for αλήθεια as primarily Hellenistic,3718 many scholars now recognize more of the traditional range of אמת in the Fourth Gospe1.3719 That 90 percent of the LXX uses of αλήθεια translate אםח3720 and that John derives his use of «full of grace and truth» from the Hebrew Bible (as well as his usage in some other pas-sages, e.g., 17:17), suggest that while the semantic range of both terms мая have influenced his usage, he is especially sensitive to the term's uses in its prior biblical contexts. Perhaps John expects the reader to hear the prologués coupling of «grace and truth» when «truth» recurs alone (twenty-five times) through the rest of the Gospel; if so, «truth» often includes the sense of «covenant faithfulness» in the Fourth Gospe1.3721 The aborted dialogue of John 18:37–38 even suggests that John is aware of competing cultural epistemologies or under-standings of truth.3722 Barrett is probably correct when he notes:
αλήθεια retains in Jn more of the meaning of אמת. Sometimes, as in ordinary Greek usage, it means simply that which corresponds to fact, is not false (5.33; 8.40, 44ff.; 16.7); but more characteristically, it means the Christian revelation brought by and revealed in Jesus (1.17; 8.32; 16.13; 17.17; 17.19 [unless here εν άληθεία = αληθώς]; 18:37; 1.14; 4.23f. should perhaps be added). This revelation arises out of the faithfulness of God to his own character, and to his promises, of which it is the fulfilment.3723
A survey of some of the uses of the term and its cognates indicates its christological focus in the Fourth Gospe1. Truth is moral in 3(articular; opposed to evil, the morality defined in terms of ones response to God s agent); associated with the Spirit in 4:23–24; 15:26; 16(the latter two articular); related to veracity (including of Christ's witness) in 8:32, 40,44, 45, 46 (all articular); directly related to Christ in 5:33; 14:6; 18(articular). Many uses of the adjective «genuine» (1:47; 3:33; 4:18, 37; 5:31–33; 6:32, 55; 7:18, 26, 28; 8:13, 16, 17, 26, 31; 10:41; 15:1; 19:35; 21:24) also are theological (3:33; 7:28; 8:26), christological (6:32, 55; 7:18; 15:1; 21:24), related to christological testimony (e.g., 5:31–32; 8:13–16; 10:41; 19:35), or ecclesiological (1:47; 8:31) statements; the character of God and his agent also define the true community.
2. The Baptist's Testimony (1:15)
The Baptist again intrudes into the narrative; in this instance, his general «witness» to the light becomes more specific in terms of a contrast between himself and the Christ, reinforcing the earlier suggestion of a polemical downplaying of John's role in the Gospe1.3724 Here the Gospel declares that, though John's public ministry preceded that of Jesus, Jesus not only outranked him but existed before him.3725 Jesus was, after all, «in the beginning with God» (1:1–2).
If Jesus «came after» John in the sense that some could claim that Jesus was John's disciple3726–not only did John baptize him but the Fourth Gospel suggests that their ministries overlapped and that John was initially the more prominent of the two (3:22–24, 30)–the pains the author takes to explain the temporal and positional superiority of the Logos to his mere witness are understandable. Normally an inferior would follow a superior;3727 but John's theology of the incarnation challenges that assumption anyway (cf. 13:14–16). Although it is unlikely that the Baptist used precisely the words here attributed to him (see ch. 2 in the introduction for ancient writers' liberty to paraphrase), the Synoptics also attest that John humbled himself before the one whose climactic, eschatological ministry was to follow his own chronologically. The Fourth Gospel knows that John recognized the one coming after (οπίσω) him, based on a tradition (1:27, 30) also preserved in Mark 1(cf. Matt 3:11).
3. Greater than Moses' Revelation (1:16–18)
Christ is greater than Moses as the one whom Moses saw is greater than Moses; in the Fourth Gospel, the glory witnessed by Israelite prophets was that of Jesus himself (12:41).
But the glory of the new covenant is also greater than the glory of the first covenant (cf. 2Cor 3:3–18).
3A. Receiving the Fulness of Grace and Truth (1:16)
Those who receive Jesus (1:12) receive the full measure of grace and truth present in him, not just the partial, veiled measure in the law. «Fulness» has a wide semantic range, and could allude to God filling the cosmos with his wisdom or his Spirit.3728 In the context, however, it seems most natural to construe «fulness» in 1as a reference to «full of grace and truth» in 1:14.3729 The first person plural would naturally refer primarily to the eyewitnesses of v. 14, but the verb indicates that it embraces also all who believe through their witness (1:12; 17:20). (The «all,» πάντες, applies only to those in the πάντες and πάντα of 1:7, 9 who believe the light, not all those to whom it is available.)
More debated is the meaning of the phrase χάριν αντί χάριτος. Whatever it means, it would seem to further the thought of the context: in Jesus God unveiled the full measure of grace and truth.3730 Matthew Black suggests an original play on words in Aramaic, «grace for disgrace» (both reflecting the Aramaic חסךא3731); but this assumes that this portion of the prologue was first written in Aramaic and that the Gospel writer would not have produced a more sensible reading of the Greek. Whether or not the writer understood the Aramaic construction, he was endeavoring to make sense in Greek! «Grace» (in the sense of patronal generosity) was to be met by «grace» (in the sense of gratitude, another nuance of χάρις),3732 but «gratitude» would not make sense if it is the object of «received» (ελάβομεν).
Some have argued that the phrase literally means blessing laid against (upon) blessing, but others have suggested it literally means a new grace habitually exchanged for an old one (άντί meaning «instead of»).3733 Some have suggested the specific sense, «one grace for another,» meaning Christs grace reckoned to his followers;3734 or Christ's grace matching ours or, most likely, superceding that of the old covenant (see comment on 1:17).3735 Granted, «one grace for another» might read into the phrase too much that would not be obvious to the intended audience, but other texts мая suggest that the phrase signifies a compensatory exchange.3736 Because Christ fulfills rather than negates Moses (5:39,45–47), however, accumulation мая make more sense than substitution: grace added to grace, explaining his «fulness» of grace (1:16; Exod 34:6).3737 Whether the phrase suggests ever-renewed or ever-increasing graces is hardly essential to the image; in either case, it would mean an inexhaustible supply of blessing. Thus in Sirach a similar phrase describes an ashamed (i.e., meek, shy) woman as χάρις έπΙ χάριτι, «charm upon charm» (neb), «a double grace,» an extra blessing.3738 Similar emphatic expressions in biblical and extrabiblical Greek make the general point clear even if the specific construction remains ambiguous.3739
3B. Christ More Gracious Than Law (1:17)
Here again John alludes to Exod 33–34, this time to the second giving of Torah from Sinai.3740 Gods character of grace and truth was revealed with the giving of law (Exod 34:6), but made fully available to humanity ultimately through Christ. The contrast is one of intensity more than of quality;3741 John accepts the witness of the law to the fulness of grace and truth in Christ, but Christ is the full embodiment of the law, the actual model of lived-out commandments, in flesh. John does not oppose Torah3742 or doubt that grace and truth мая still be found there in some measure;3743 he identifies it with Jesus and declares that only followers of Jesus submit to its ultimate eschatological expression.3744 Moses' writings remain God's Word, but they were not the same as «the revelation of grace and truth incarnate.»3745
Thus Moses and the law testify to Jesus (1:45; 5:45–47). Those who contend with Jesus on the basis of the law (7:49; 9:28–29; 18:31; 19:7) actually misunderstand (7:23; 8:17; 10:34; 15:25) and disobey (7:19,51) the law themselves. (Interestingly, John does not apply γραφή with the same polemical sense as νόμος.)
The lack of adversative conjunction here does not eliminate the contrast (compare the lack of adversatives in 1:18; 2:9,10; 7:36),3746 but it also does not permit us to exaggerate the force of the contrast.3747 Context must dictate the force of contrast, as in m. 'Abot 2:7, which similarly implies a contrast without a conjunction: «One who gains a good name (indeed) gains (something) for oneself; (but) one who gains for himself the words of Torah gains for himself life in the world to come.»3748 As in m. 'Abot 2:7, the contrast of John 1is between something good and something better, which are not mutually exclusive. None of John's audience would have viewed grace negatively; not only the Jewish Bible but early Judaism emphasized grace.3749
Most Jewish sources concur that the law was given through Moses–that God was the author and Moses the mediator.3750 The only evidence for a contrary view became a gnostic position against the law in the second century.3751 John accepts the divine origin of Torah («it was given» is presumably a divine passive) and the Mosaic agency, but contends that Christ, not Moses, is the mediator of the character of God to which the law bore witness. In contrast to Abraham (mentioned eleven times in the Gospel), John's mentions of Moses (twelve times) generally are at pains to subordinate Moses as an agent and a witness.3752 John consistently portrays Jesus as the true gifts to which Moses' gifts of Torah, manna, and lifting up the serpent point.3753 The community's opponents appeal to Moses as their witness (9:28–29), but he is a witness against them (5:45–46).
3C. Beholding God's Face in Christ (1:18)
Moses could not see all God's glory because God declared that no one could see his face and live (Exod 33:20).3754 John declares first the sense in which that affirmation remains true: «No one has beheld God at any time.» The rest of the Fourth Gospel continues to maintain the Father's invisibility to the world (5:37; 6:46; cf. 1 John 4:12, 20). But now that affirmation is qualified: the specially beloved, incarnate God has fully revealed his character, so that the one who has seen him has seen the Father (14:9). (In the same way, the postresurrection Jesus will remain invisible to the world, but not to his disciples– 14:21–23; 16:16–19,22; 20:18,25. Before the resurrection he was seen by both, perhaps like Israel at Mount Sinai–6:36; 19:37; Exod 24:10.)
Greek and Roman sources sometimes emphasize God's invisibility; some writers suggested that only the pure intellect could apprehend or «see» the divine (Maximus of Tyre Or. 11.9–10).3755 More consistently, Palestinian Jewish tradition emphasized the invisibility of God,3756 even if some visionaries claimed to see his glory in special mystical experiences.3757 Diaspora Jewish writers including Philo,3758 the Sibylline Oracles,3759 and Josephus3760 likewise considered God invisible.3761 Jewish writers still affirmed Scriptures teachings both that God spoke with Moses face to face3762 and that Moses could not see all God's glory.3763 If early Christians claimed to see a fuller picture of God than what Moses had seen, this claim would certainly have sounded blasphemous to most of their non-Christian Jewish contemporaries. If Ascension of Isaiah is an early Christian work, its defense of Isaiah (accused of having seen more than Moses) мая respond to anti-Christian polemic from the synagogue.3764
Some Jewish sources, however, indicate an eschatological vision of God.3765 John мая thus imply that Jesus' coming represented the eschatological revelation, the ultimate and climactic revelation of God's character.3766 Some also play on the etymological roots and another possible use of the term to argue that Jesus «opened the way» and guided to God (cf. 14:6);3767 but revelation is paramount in the expression.3768 As noted in the introduction, John does not abandon all future eschatology, but he clearly stresses the historic revelation and fulfillment of eschatological realities in Jesus. Like Philo, however, John мая imply a different kind of vision than mere sensory vision; he also implies depth of insight that produces inner transformation (see introduction on «vision» in chapter 6 of our introduction).
For Jesus to «make God known» implies more than communicating a visual image; the term suggests that Jesus fully interprets God,3769 confirming the sense of the context: Jesus unveils God's character absolutely. John also indicates the extent to which Jesus is the perfect revealer (cf. also 3:11–13). Jesus is the Word who was with the Father in the beginning (1:1–2); here John employs graphic figurative language to drive home the point of his absolute intimacy with the Father: «who being in the Father's bosom made that one known.» The conjunction of «while being in … made known» (reading the participle temporally) suggests that Jesus revealed the Father while remaining in his bosom, and the context confirms that this revelation coincides with his earthly life, while climaxing in the cross.3770
Holding an object to onés bosom declared the specialness of that object,3771 and the image could be used to depict God's relation with Torah.3772 (Potential pagan parallels, such as Athenés birth from Zeus's brow or Dionysus's from his side,3773 would probably not occur even to most Greek readers, given the imagés much broader connotations.) The image also represented a position of intimacy for people,3774 thus Jesus elsewhere in the gospel tradition used being in Abrahams bosom as an image of intimacy and fellowship with Abraham (Luke 16:22).3775 Because the phrase often appears in man-woman or parent-child relations, and because the text here speaks of «the Father,» the affectionate image мая be that of a son on his father s lap.3776 This Gospel itself clarifies this role of intimacy for that disciple «whom Jesus loved» in their table-fellowship in 13:25; if the preposition εις retains its original force here–prepositions had lost much of their distinctiveness by the Koine period of Greek–it мая further emphasize the intimacy of Father and Son, stressing «that Father and Son are mutually directed towards each other, in the manner customary at an Eastern table where two would lie next to each other while eating.»3777
The intimate connection between Father and Son is not only relational, but in terms of their shared nature and similar role. Although some critics still favor the reading «only son,»3778 the text more naturally reads «the only God, who is in the bosom of the Father.»3779 Given the tendency to simplify the sense of the text, the Arian controversy in Egypt, the source of most of our manuscripts, would have led to a later preference for «only Son,» since «only» was often read as «only begotten» and «only begotten God» could be pressed into ambiguous support against both Arius and Athanasius: «no copyist is likely to have altered 'Son' to 'God,' whereas there would have been a strong temptation to alter the difficult word 'God' to the familiar 'Son.' (How could God be in the bosom of God?)»3780 One of the text critics who developed the original Westcott-Hort text notes that «unique God» «is the more intrinsically probable from its uniqueness» and «makes the alternative reading more intelligible.»3781
In further support of the «God» reading мая be John s penchant for variation in christological titles,3782 the probable inclusio surrounding Jesus' role introduced in 1:1c3783 (and indeed in the body of the book, 1with 20:28), and the shock value of the phrase.3784 Finally, μονογενής θεός (in its anarthrous or articular form) has in its favor most of our earliest manuscripts,3785 including P66 (second or third century), P75 (third century), Sinaiticus and its copy (א, fourth century), and Vaticanus (B, fourth century), although Alexandrinus (A, fifth century) is on the other side;3786 as Longenecker observes, «The reading 'the unique God' (μονογενής θεός) of John 1.18 is better attested textually than 'the unique Son' (μονογενής υιός), though it is often set aside on theological grounds.»3787
The prologue thus culminates in a rehearsal of Jesus' deity, closing an inclusio that began with 1:1c; it also parallels the conclusion of the Gospel as a whole (20:28), forming an inclusio around the entire Gospel which proclaims Jesus' deity.3788 To Jewish Christians needing to lay even their lives on the line because of their Christology, John reminds them that Christology is at the heart of their faith in Israel's God.
* * *
Boismard, Prologue, 5. Partial repetition of phrases yielding limited parallels in successive lines also appears in more limited form in Greek rhetoric (cf. παρομοίωσις in Anderson, Glossary, 91–92).
Because «God,» being anarthrous, is naturally read as the predicate nominative (see below), John was free to adapt the word order to fit his literary structure.
Both these structures are from Bailey, Poet, 59.
Cf., e.g., Col 1:16; Heb 11:3; 2 En. 24(esp. A, but J is similar). Although Philo (Creation 27) contends that Gen 1refers not to the beginning of creation but to the chronological priority of the heavens, «beginning» almost universally refers to the beginning of creation (Rom 1:20; T. Mos. 1:12–13; 12:4; 4 Ezra 6:38; Incant. Text 20:11–12 in Isbell, Bowls, 64–65, יומי עלם); cf. L.A.B. 32:7; 1 En. 69(Sim.); Diogenes Laertius 10.1.75), though it can apply to primeval antiquity in general rather than the moment of creation (Adam's time in Matt 19:4,8; Mark 10:6; 4 Ezra 4:30; L.A.B. 1:1; cf. Hesiod Theoç. 452).
Luther, 1st Sermon on John 1; Stuart, «Examination,» 15; Westcott, John, 2; Pollard, «Poems,» 107–11; Bernard, John, 1:1; Guillaume, «Midrash,» 395; Burkitt, Gnosis, 94; Sanders, John, 67; Brown, John, 1:4; Haenchen, John, 1:109; Rissi, «Word,» 396; Morris, John, 72; Moloney, Belief, 27–28. Daniélou, Theology, 108, traces the development of this idea through later Christian thought and Jewish gnosis.
Some commentators connect the creation of 1:1–3 with the new creation, although apparently arguing for a parallel in Christ's involvement in both rather than denying his activity in the first creation (e.g., Hoskyns, Gospel, 140–41; Strachan, Gospel, 67; cf. du Rand, «Ellips»).
Commentators see allusions in such phrases as «light,» «life,» «were made» and sometimes also connect the «word» with God speaking the world into being (Hoskyns, Gospel, 140–41; Lee, Thought, 114–15).Coloe, «Structure,» even finds echoes of the structure of Gen 1 in John 1:1–18.
Ridderbos, John, 24.
Philo Alleg. Interp. 1.43. Cf. also Frg. Tg. and Tg. Neof. on Gen 1(Anderson, «Interpretation»).
This мая represent an Amoraic development predicated on identification with Wisdom in Prov 8(Gen. Rab. 1:1; Lev. Rab. 19:1); cf. Dodd, Interpretation, 86; see esp. Harvey, «Torah,» 1236.
In Philo, see Confusion 146; Moreno Martinez, «Logos»; Longenecker, Christology, 43. In second-century orthodox writers, Jesus as Logos could be called άρχή, the «beginning» (Theophilus 2.10; Tatian 5; Daniélou, Theology, 166–68); in gnosticism, the Nous or Monogenes was the Father and Beginning of all things; proceeding from the first Aeon, it was the source of Logos and Zoe (Irenaeus Haer. 1.1.1).
On the philosophical use, cf. Jannière, «Problèmes.»
Cf. Rev 3:14, where «beginning» is actually a divine title signifying the originator of creation (see 1:8,17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13; Isa 44:6; 48:11–12; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.190; Ant. 8.280).
As is often recognized, e.g., Kennedy, Theology, 156; мая, «Logos,» 446; Moule, Birth, 167; Bandstra, «Errorists,» 332; Johnston, Ephesians, 58; Longenecker, Christology, 145; Glasson, «Colossians I 18, 15,» 154–56.
«First» could mean «greatest» in rank, power, or privilege (πρώτος, Chariton 2.5.4), as could «firstborn» (Gen 49:3–4; 'Abot R. Nat. 24, §49 B; Midr. Pss. 5, §4; cf. Pesiq. Rab. 49:7; Gibbs, Creation and Redemption, 103; Beasley-Murray, «Colossians 1:15–20,» 171; πρωτότοκος in 1 Chr 5LXX translates Heb. ךוש); «firstborn» could thus function as a title of Zeus (Protogonus in Damascius De principiis 123 bis, sixth century C.E., in Grant, Religions, 107), other pagan deities («Hymn to Amon-Re,» ANET, 365; PGM 1.198–199, 342–343; 13.188; Isis as prima caelitum in Apuleius Metam. 11.4; Guthrie, Orpheus, 96–97), the true God (Isa 41:4; Gen. Rab. 63:8; Pesiq. Rab. 51:3; Marmorstein, Names, 97–98). More significantly, however, «firstborn» also was Wisdom language (Philo Quest. Gen. 4.97) or Logos language (Philo Confusion 63, 146; Agric. 51; Dreams 1.215; all from Lohse, Colossians, 48; cf. Lightfoot, Colossians, 146; for Justin, see 1 Apo1. 21; Osborn, Justin, 28–29) and could be applied to Torah (Davies, Paul, 151).
Robinson, Problem, 69, regards άρχή as a technical kerygmatic term in Mark 1:1, citing Matt 4:17; Luke 3:23; 4:21; 23:5; John 1:1; 2:11; Acts 1:1; 10:37. Via, Kerygma, 143, uses John 1and Gen 1to suggest new creation imagery in Mark 1:1.
Aune, Environment, 48, citing Polybius 1.5.1; 5.31.1–2; Tacitus Hist. 1.1.1; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 1.8.4. It also can represent the «beginning» of tradition (Luke 1:1) or narration (Apollonius of Rhodes 1.1).
Sir 24:9. It is true that άπ' άρχής can apply simply to «the beginning of the time in question,» e.g., Sir 51:20; John 2:11. But the context and other depictions of Wisdom in Sirach allow for no such ambiguity here (cf. also Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen. 1:1).
L.A.B. 32(tr., OTP2:346); cf. 1QH 1.19–20. Contrast idols, which were not really «from the beginning,» άπ' άρχής (Wis 14:13).
Sipre Deut. 37.1.3 (but some others contend for the sanctuary or the land of Israel).
E.g., b. Ned. 39b, bar. (arguing from Prov 8:22); Pesah. 54a, bar.; Midr. Pss. 90:3; cf. Midr. Pss. 72:17; 93:2. Davies, Paul 170 n. 5, also lists b. Šabb. 88b-89a; Zebah. 116a.
Gen. Rab. 1:4. Hamerton-Kelly suggests that the préexistence of all was actual in the baraita in b. Ned. 39b; Pesah. 54a. The later Platonic distinction between actual and ideal préexistence being limited to where it is explicitly stated (Gen. Rab. 1:4; Pre-existence, 20), some Platonic speculation мая have affected conceptualizations earlier; cf. 'Abot R. Nat. 37, §95 B, which lists the Ten Commandments as among ten things that preexisted in God's plan. Further, God's tabernacle «prepared from the beginning,» άπ' άρχής (Wis 9:8), мая refer to the ideal tabernacle, the heavenly prototype.
R. Berekiah (fifth century), Lev. Rab. 30:16.
E.g., b. Ned. 39b, bar.; Pesah. 54a, bar.; Gen. Rab. 1:4; Lev. Rab. 14(his spirit); Pesiq. Rab. 33:6; Midr. Pss. 72:17; cf. similarly Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 138; Schoeps, Paul, 150; Urbach, Sages, 1:684. Montefiore and Loewe, Anthology, 586, suggest that the preexistent-messiah tradition мая appropriate Christian theology. In Mek. Pisha 1.54–56, all Israel was «fit for the kingship» until David was chosen, which would argue against a préexistent messiah in this stream of Tannaitic tradition (i.e., it мая have fallen only to Akibás heirs).
E.g., 'Abot R. Nat. 37, §95 B; Gen. Rab. 1:4. Moses appears as preexistent or premeditated in T. Mos. 1and in very late Samaritan tradition (MacDonald, Samaritans, 162–79; cf. 423–24 on the date); cf. Moses' divinity in Philo Sacrifices 9; Exod. Rab. 8:1; Num. Rab. 15:13; based on Exod 7:1. Cf. 2 Clem. 14.1 for the preexistence of the church (2 Clement reflects many Jewish motifs).
We are assuming here that the Similitudes might not be pre-Christian; see 1 En. 48:3,6 (OTP 1cites 1 En. 46:1–2; 48:3; 62:7; 4 Ezra 12:32; 13:26, on 2 Bar. 30:1; the last reference мая not imply a préexistent messiah).
They also exhibit few of the other parallels cited here in the prologue, although on creation see comments on John 1:3.
Pesiq. Rab Kah. 12:24; Gen. Rab. 8:2; Lev. Rab. 19(«before the Beginning»); Pesiq. Rab. 46:1; Midr. Pss. 90:3; Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen. 3:24. Ibn Ezra (twelfth century C.E.) concurred with this opinion but did not regard it as literal, observing that one could not calculate years without days nor days before creation (Jacobs, Exegesis, 14–15).
'Abot R. Nat. 31 A (R. Eliezer b. R. Yose the Galilean); b. Šabb. 88b (R. Joshua bar Levi, third century).
It is also evident that Torah, once created, was eternal (Bar 4:1; 1 En. 93:6; L.A.B. 9:8; 11:2; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 4:2; cf. Jub. 2:33).
Cf. Loewe in Montefiore and Loewe, Anthology, 171: «The pre-existence of the Torah is very often merely tantamount to an expression that God Himself is bound by His own Laws.» Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.154–156 uses the law's antiquity (albeit not its metaphysical préexistence) apologetically (cf. Ag. Ap. 1.1–29, 196, 215–218, 227; 2.1, 144, 279, 288).
E.g., L.A.B. 9:8; 2 Bar. 57:2.
E.g., Abraham's marriage to his sister (Gen 20:12; Lev 18:9, 11; Deut 27:22), his planting a tamarisk tree (Gen 21:33; Deut 16:21), and Jacob's sororal polygyny (Gen 29; Lev 18:18). Other laws, e.g., the Sabbath and prohibition of murder, were, however, more clearly revealed (Gen 2:2; 9:5–6).
Jub. 2:30; 3:8,10; 6:2,18–19; 7:3; 14:24; 16:21; 22:1–9; 44:4. See Schultz, «Patriarchs,» passim, who contrasts Genesis's Noahides with Jubilees' (and some later Jewish sources') law keepers; cf. Endres, Interpretation, 3–4 (though Sinai apparently began a new era in Israel's history; cf. Wintermute in OTP 2:39, following Testuz [if the latter is correct]).
E.g., Jub. 33:15–16. Compare the exoneration of David's royal polygyny on the questionable grounds that the law was unknown in his day (CD 5.2; cf. Keener, Marries, 41,161), and the rabbis' holding Gentiles responsible for the Noahide laws precisely because they know better.
M. Qidd. 4:14; b. Sotah 14a; Gen. Rab. 92:4; 95:3; Exod. Rab. 1:1; Lev. Rab. 2:10. Oral Torah likewise existed before the Rabbis (Solomon in b. cErub. 21b); R. Hisda even contended that Abraham was far more proficient in the mishnaic tractate cAbbodah Zarah than any contemporary rabbis (b. cAbod. Zar. 14b)! Although earlier sources do not comment on this, the admission of Justin's Trypho that only circumcision was practiced before Moses is probably fabricated (Justin Dia1. 46).
Rissi, «Word,» 396; Brown, John, 1:4. Westcott, John, 2, and Bernard, John, 1find supra-temporal existence in the imperfect tense of the verb; cf. similarly Boismard, Prologue, 7; Morris, John, 73. Cf. the title for God in Apoc. Ab. 9(possibly as early as the second century C.E.): «Before-the-World» (OTP 1:693). The suggested distinction between eternals and immortals in some Greek thought (e.g., Herodotus Hist. 2.43, 145–146, in Talbert, Gospel, 26–27) is not particularly helpful here (first, most Greek mythology detailed deities' origin, and second, John's frame of thought is monotheistic).
For comments on self-begotten or unbegotten deity in other texts from this period, see comment on 5:26.
Hillelites reportedly contended that «was» in Gen 1indicates the state, hence existence, of earth before the creation (p. Hag. 2:1, §17; this undoubtedly reflects Greek speculation–see comment on John 1:3); yet it remains doubtful in view of later rabbinic opinions that they actually viewed it as eternally préexistent.
See esp. Bultmann, John, 31, for whom the implied contrast between «created» or «became» and «was» alone is adequately decisive.
The importance of this to John's Christology is evident in his framing device: he frames the whole body of the Gospel with confessions of Jesus' deity (1:1; 20:28; see Cullmann, Christology, 308).
Wis 8:3. Cf. the close relationship between Isis and Osiris, Isis being mediator (Plutarch Mor. 352A in Betz and Smith, «De Iside,» 41).
Gen. Rab. 1:1, using language from Prov. 8:30. Freedman and Simon observe (Midrash Rabbah 1n. 1) that here «the Torah was with God as with a tutor, reared, as it were, by the Almighty.» Cf. Burkitt, Gnosis, 95, who suggests that John here echoes Genesis, which pictures God «producing the creation by consulting with Himself.»
Pollard, «Relationships,» 364–65 (all six instances outside John connote «active relationship or intercourse 'with'»); cf. Carson, Discourse, 92. The construction here represents neither movement toward God (Ellis, John, 21; Stevens, Theology, 90; cf. Morris, John, 76) nor an Aramaism; by this period, prepositions were becoming more ambiguous (cf., e.g., μετ' αλλήλων in 6and προς αλλήλους in 6:52).
E.g., Pereira, «Word,» 182, citing 7:29. On relations among Father, Son, and Spirit in this Gospel, see more fully Harner, Analysis, 1–43; cf. also Gruenler, Trinity.
On strained relations in Rome, cf. Sussman, «Sons.»
Appold, Motif, 34.
Trudinger, «Non-deity»; cf. Robinson, Priority, 393.
Barth, Witness, 29.
See Petersen, Sociology, 123.
Wiles, Gospel, 11–12.
E.g., Euripides E1. 1298–1300; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.245; cf. Homer Il. 18.94–96; Ovid Metam. 4.234–244. Most deities could not restore life once it was gone (Ovid Metam. 2.612–613).
E.g., Homer Od. 4.459–461; Apollodorus 2.5.11 (cf. magical papyri for the manipulation of demons).
E.g., 2Macc 6:26; 3Macc 5:7; Wis 7:25; Let. Arts. 185; Sib. Or. 1.66; T. Ab. 8:3; 15:12A; b. Šabb. 88b; Yebam. 105b; Yoma 12a; cf. Goodenough, Symbols, 2:179.
E.g., Virgil Aen. 1.60; 3.251; 4.25, 206, 220; 6.592; 7.141, 770; 8.398; 9.625; 10.100, 668; 12.178,791; Georg. 2.325; Ovid Metam. 1.154; 2.304,401,505; 3.336; 9.271; 14.816; Valerius Flaccus 3.249; Plutarch Isis 2, Mor. 352A; Van der Horst, «Macrobius,» 232, also cites Macrobius Sat. 1.23.21. But Juno might be omnipotens (Virgil Aen. 7.428) yet prove unable to prevail against Fate (7.314); other deities appear as omnipotent, e.g., Pluto in Orphic Hymns 18.17 (but perhaps as the «chthonic Zeus,» 18.3). In unrelated religious traditions, see, e.g., Mbiti, Religions, 40–41.
E.g., Ovid Metam. 2.685–686.
Ovid Metam. 2.687–707.
E.g., Sophocles Searchers 212–215 (Sei. Pap. 3:44–45); Euripides Antiope 69–71; Pirithous 22–24 (Sei. Pap. 3:124–125); Virgil Aen. 1.28; Ovid Metam. 2.714–747; 3.1–2, 260–261; 4.234–244; 5.391–408; 10.155–219; 14.765–771; Achilles Tatius 1.5.5–7; Apuleius Metam. 6.22; Apollodorus 3.8.2. On very rare occasions a mortal escaped, outwitting the deity (Apollonius of Rhodes 2.946–954).
E.g., Ovid Metam. 2.603–611.
E.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.244–246,275; Athenagoras 20–22; Theophilus 1.9; Ps.-Clem. 15.1–19.3.
E.g., Euripides Bacch. 94–98; Appian R.H 12.15.101; Ovid Metam. 3.261–272, 280–309; 4.416–530.
E.g., Euripides Hipp. 1–28,1400–1403 (because deities desire honor, Hipp. 8); Apollonius of Rhodes 3.64–65.
Ovid Metam. 4.543–562; 5.409–437.
E.g., Ovid Tristia 1.2.4–5. Even if Homer authored both the Iliad and the Odyssey, it remains noteworthy that the former portrays a much less harmonious pantheon; later Roman sources (e.g., the Aeneid) also portray their deities more favorably than the Iliad.
Odysseus in Euripides Cyc1. 606–607. In prayer, pagans often piled up as many names of the deity they were entreating as possible (e.g., Homer I1. 1.37–38, 451–452; 2.412; PGM 4.2916–2927; Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus; more restrained, ILS 190) and reminded a deity of favors owed, seeking an answer on contractual grounds, as many ancient texts attest (e.g., Homer Il. 1.39–41; 10.291–294; Od. 1.61–62,66–67; 4.762–764; 17.240–242; Apollonius of Rhodes 1.417–419; Virgil Aen. 12.778).
E.g., Pliny Nat. 2.5.17; Seneca Dia1. 7.26.6; Nat. 2.44.1–2.45.1; Maximus of Tyre Or. 5.1; 35.1.
E.g.,Musonius Rufus 16,p. 106.6–8; 17,p. 108.8–18; see further Lutz,"Musonius,"27 n. 111.
Dillon, «Philosophy,» 795. Many also held him to be ineffable (Maximus of Tyre Or. 2.10).
Cf., e.g., Diogenes Laertius 7.1.134, 148; Seneca Nat. 1.pref.13. Pantheism was also more widespread (cf. Virgil Georg. 4.221–222, 225; Aeschylus frg. 34, from Clement of Alexandria Stromata 5.14, p. 718; Aeschylus LCL 2adds Philodemus On Piety 22).
Malherbe, Exhortation, 15; cf. Meeks, Moral World, 47.
Frequently, e.g., Epictetus Diatr. 2.1.25; cf. the identification also in Ps-Aristotle De mundo (according to Grant, Gods, 78).
E.g., Chariton 3.3.16; Plutarch Isis 1, Mor. 351DE; T. T. 8.2.4, Mor. 720A. Cf. Plato Alcib. 1.124C: Socrates spoke of his guardian (επίτροπος) as θεός.
E.g.,Strabo Geog. 16.2.35.
See Meeks, Prophet-King, 103–6. It is helpful here to compare the divinization of Plato and other teachers in Hellenistic tradition (e.g., Diogenes Laertius 2.100; 6.2.63; 6.9.104; 8.1.11; 9.7.39; Plutarch Profit by Enemies 8, Mor. 90C; Apol1. 36, Mor. 120D; cf. Cicero Leg. 3.1.1); cf. lawgivers in Musonius Rufus 15, p. 96.24. One мая also think of hyperbolic comparisons employed in popular rhetoric; see, e.g., Cicero De or. 1.10.40; 1.38.172; Or. Brut. 19.62.
E.g., Philo Sacrifices 9; cf. Runia, «God.» Cf. explanations of Exod 7in Exod. Rab. 8:1; Num. Rab. 15:13. Cf. Metatron (originally a personification) as a lesser YHWH in 3 En. 12(though he turns out to be Enoch in 3 En. 4:2; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 4:24; cf. further Scholem, Gnosticism, 43–46); the righteous Messiah, and Jerusalem called by the Lord's name (b. B. Bat. 75b; cf. Jer 23:6; Ezek 48:35); and Israel as a god (Gen. Rab. 98:3, fourth-century Amoraim). Yet R. Simeon ben Yohai (late second century) taught that associating God's name with other gods was worse than denying his existence (b. Sanh. 63a).
The Jewish God regularly appears as θεός (e.g., CI] 1:487, §675).
Contrast Williamson, «Philo»; Chilton, Approaches, 200–201; their comparisons are nevertheless valuable.
Cf. also Bultmann, John, 33 (rejecting especially Hellenistic and gnostic «polytheistic conceptions and emanationist theories» that neglect the text's monotheistic sense); Stuart, «Examination,» 42. Greek scholars consistently deride the «a god» translation; cf., e.g., Metzger, «Translation,» 125; and esp. Bruce, Booh, 60 n. 4: those who translate «a god» here «prove nothing thereby save their ignorance of Greek grammar.»
Cf. Miller, "Logos"; Cullmann, Christology, 308.
E.g., Josephus Ant. 10.180; cf. Stuart, «Examination,» 42; Bultmann, John, 33; Brown, John, 1:5; Harris, Jesus as God, 287. On Josephus's general sense for τό θεόv, cf. Shutt, «Concept.»
E.g., Flight 13.
Let.Aris. 3; cf. 31.
Metzger, «Translation,» 125; cf. Clark, Logos, 21; Sanders, John, 70 (citing the predicate nominative of 1:4). It should be noted, of course, that a writer who wished to emphasize that a predicate noun was definite was free to insert the article (Harner, «Nouns,» 87); and the pattern does not always obtain even in the context (John 1:8–9).
Noted also by Stuart, «Examination,» 41.
See Diognetus as analyzed by Meecham, «θεός.»
Griffiths, «Predicate,» 315. For the more complex situation in Josephus, cf. Shutt, «Concept.»
Sanders, John, 70.
E.g., Dreams 1.65–66 (recognizing both as «god»); 1.239–240 (the Logos is to God what the parhelion is to the sun). MacGregor, John, xxxvi, acknowledges that Philo personalized the Logos, but thinks it functioned as a divine agent only figuratively.
Dreams 1.228–230, in Hengel, Son, 80; Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 27; Haenchen, John, 1:109; cf. Borgen, «Agent,» 146.
Cf. the practical divinity of Torah–experienced as God's presence by Israel–in Sandmel, Judaism, 184. Justin likewise distinguishes the Logos from God while calling him God (e.g., 1 Apo1. 63, in Osborn, Justin, 30–31).
Like Michaels, John, 7, we are inclined to accept both reasons for the lack of definite article, without determining which was decisive.
Stuart, «Examination,» 41. Cf. similarly Bernard, John, 1:2; Ellis, John, 21; Brown, Christology, 187–88; perhaps this is also what Painter, John, 57, intends.
Hoskyns, Gospel, 141, contends that John means more than «divine» because the Word is personal; while John's usage elsewhere indicates a stronger sense of «divine» than many uses (e.g., Philós for Moses), Hoskyns's argument need not follow logically, especially given Philós Logos.
MacGregor, John, 4. Kenney, John 1:1, argues that a trinitarian perspective makes more sense of the text than a unitarian one. For Jesus to be fully deity without all deity being identified with Jesus, geometric logic would represent Jesus as a member of the set «God.»
See, e.g., Miller, "Logos"; Bultmann, John, 33; Fennema, «Only Son»; Harner, «Nouns,» 86–87; Griffiths, «Predicate,» 315; Harris, Jesus as God, 51–71,293.
Harner, «Nouns,» 87.
NEB; Bruce, Books, 247. An explanatory note мая be needed on whichever side of caution one wishes to err; Harris, Jesus as God, 70, prefers to retain «the Word was God» but to explain that this means the same nature, not the same person.
Irenaeus Haer. 1.1–3. On creation through angelic powers in gnosticism, see «The Apocryphon of John,» NHL 104–16; «On the Origin of the World,» NHL 161–79; Jonas, Religion, 132–36; cf. «The Gospel of the Egyptians,» NHL 195–205. Perhaps the emphasis on God's creation of evil in Gk. Apoc. Ezra 2:9 мая be antignostic.
Cf. Irenaeus Haer. 1.26.1, on Cerinthus; Hippolytus Haer. 6.28–29, on Valentinians. Although the gnostic view of creation reflected Platonic ideas (e.g., Marcus's creation after an invisible image, Irenaeus Haer. 1.17), the neoplatonist Plotinus found it severely wanting (Plotinus Enn. 2.9.8)
See Cohn-Sherbok, «Mandaeans,» who cites t. Sanh. 8:7; Gen. Rab. 8:10. This мая suggest a proto-Mandaic idea later incorporated into Mandaism; but its evidence мая derive from a gnostic source, which мая have been influenced by the Christian doctrine of the second Adam as well as rabbinic Adam speculation. Further, the polemic against minim in t. Sanh. 8may not address Adam at all; rabbis did polemicize against dual powers in creation (Gen. Rab. 1:7), but this could oppose Christians or the male-female dyad principle of some pagan (e.g., Varro L.L. 5.10.58; cf. Gen. Rab. 8:9; Pesiq. Rab. 20:2) as well as gnostic (Irenaeus Haer. 1.1.1) thought, and a polemic against gnostic or Philonic angelic mediation (cf. Urbach, Sages, 205) need not involve proto-Mandaism in particular.
An anonymous poem in Sei. Pap. 3:544–551 (4 C.E.); cf. Enuma Elish 6.33–38.
Confusion 171, 179; Flight 69; cf. also Papias frg. 7 (from Andreas Caesariensis, ca. 500 C.E., in Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1:155). God created through assistants so that if his creation went astray, the assistants would be blamed (Creation 75).
Despite disagreement on when angels were created, later rabbis agreed that God did not create them on the first day (contrast the earlier claim in Jub. 2:2), lest schismatics claim that angels aided in creation (Gen. Rab. 1:3; Justin Dia1. 62; cf. Gen. Rab. 8:8; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 1:26; Williams, Justin, 129; Barnard, «Judaism,» 404; Urbach, Sages, 1:203–4; for other traditions on days of creation, cf. t. Ber. 5:31; houses dispute in p. Hag. 2:1, §17; cf. Gen. Rab. 1:15), although God did consult with them (b. Sanh. 38b; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 23:1; Gen. Rab. 8:3–4,8; 17:4; Lev. Rab. 29:1; Num. Rab. 19:3; see Urbach, Sages, 1:205–7). This clearly represents polemic against an existing interpretation of the plural in Gen. 1(contrast Jub. 2:3, second century b.C.E.; the plurals of Gen. 1and 11include angels–Jub. 10:22–23; cf. 14:20); polemicists before the rabbis мая have also objected to the Jubilees chronology (cf. L.A.B. 60:3; 2 En. 29A; 29:3–5 J).
In the DSS (Bandstra, «Errorists,» 333–35) and other sources (ibid., 335–37); it мая have been opposed in Col 1and 2(cf. Yamauchi, «Colosse,» 147–48). For a fuller collection of sources on angelic mediators in creation, see Fossum, «Gen.»
Burkitt, Gnosis, 55. This view, too, did not originate with the gnostics but in the development of the Platonic contrast between the realm of shadows and realm of ideas (on the corruptibility of all matter, cf. Plutarch Isis 78, Mor. 382F; Ε at Delphi 18, Mor. 392; Plotinus Enn. 2.4; on its consequent unreality, cf. Plotinus Enn. 3.6, esp. 3.6.6–7; on the evil (κακήν) that arises from it, see Plotinus Enn. 1.8; Epitome of Plutarch's Gen. of Soul 2, Mor. 1030E). Philo taught that God created people through lesser powers lest he be blamed for human sin (Confusion 179) or associated with human finiteness (Flight 69). Gnostics and Philo both drew from middle Platonism; cf. Pearson, «Philo.»
Some scholars do believe that John counters the gnostic view of creation here (Lohse, Environment, 274), but the text s lack of explicit emphasis on creation's goodness supports this contention mainly by silence, and this scholarly position functions better on the accepted premise of a gnostic context for the Gospel rather than as a support for that premise.
See Grant, Paul, 72; cf. Marcus Aurelius 4.23 (with different prepositions).
MacGregor, John, 5 (accepting also the repeated «God said» of Gen 1 as background). For other Stoic perspectives on the creator, cf. Diogenes Laertius 7.1.147; Seneca Dia1. 12.8.3.
For traditional Greek theogonies (e.g., Hesiod), see Guthrie, Orpheus, 69–72 (72–147 for Orphic theogony; for the Orphic original world-egg reported, e.g., by neoplatonists, see 93–95); these influenced Gnostics (Hippolytus Haer. 1.23; 5.5). One мая compare such ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies and titanomachies as Enuma Elish (on which see Heidel, Genesis). For early Greek arguments on the possibility of void or empty space existing, see Allen, Philosophy, 16,45, 50, 55.
Diogenes Laertius 9.7.44. But the significance of this language should not be pressed as if John's words are directly derivative; it should be noted that various forms of γίνομαι are the most natural Greek language for such origination (e.g., Philo Creation 42; Let. Aris. 16; cf. Jos. Asen. 16:11/6); for «all things that are» in reference to creation (God alone being viewed as uncreated), cf. also an apophthegm of Thaies in Diogenes Laertius 1.35.
Diogenes Laertius 9.9.57.
Nothing comes into being against God's will except evil deeds (Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus in Stobaeus Ed. 1.1.12, in Grant, Religions, 153).
1QS 11.11. This comparison was offered as early as Brownlee, «Comparison,» 72, and has often been offered subsequently (Wilcox, «Dualism,» 89; Cross, Library, 215 n. 34). Freed, «Influences,» 146, in fact, calls it «the closest parallel from the Dead Sea Scrolls yet known to any passage in the NT.»
1QS 11.17. Schnackenburg similarly comments on the contrasts between «all» and «nothing» in creation language in this document (John, 1:238); cf. a similar contrast in 1 En. 84:3.
1QS 3.15. Hengel, Judaism, 1:218–19, regards this as analogous to Greek philosophical language.
On the universés or matter's uncreatedness and consequent eternality (the Peripatetic view), cf. Aristotle Heav. 1.9 (the heavens, not the elements, 3.6); Cicero Tusc. 1.23.54 (the heavens); an Epicurean in Cicero Nat. d. 1.9.21–22; Plotinus Enn. 2.1.1; Philo Eternity passim; Chroust, «Fragment»; idem, «Comments.» On its eternality in particular, cf. Macrobius Comm. 2.10, 19 (Van der Horst, «Macrobius,» 223); Lucretius Nat. 1.215–264, 958–1115; Sidebottom, James, 119; on its continual re-creation till the present (closer to the Platonic view, cf. Bauckham, Jude, 301; cf. Stoicism in, e.g., Seneca Berief 4.8.1; Dia1. 6.26.7; Heraclitus in Diogenes Laertius 9.1.7), Gen. Rab. 3:7; Ecc1. Rab. 3:11, §1; cf. disputes in Gen. Rab. 1:5.
A view often espoused, even as late as the late-fourth-century writer Sallustius in Concerning the Gods and the Universe §§7,13,17 (Grant, Religion, 184–85,190–91,192–94).
Plato Tim. 29A-30. The universe thus originates from what is eternal, not from what has become (το γεγονός).
Cf. the Loeb introduction to Plutarch's Gen. of Soul (Moralia, LCL 13:137); others мая have simply echoed the language (e.g., Aelius Aristides Defense of Oratory 379, §126D; Menander Rhetor 2.17,438.16–17).
Cf. Epitome of Gen. of Soul 2, Mor. 1030E; the note there refers to 1016C, 1017AB, 1014B, 1029DE, and 1030C. Stoics in Paul's day could picture God as the universés soul (Seneca Nat. 2.45.1–2).
Plutarch TT. 8.2.4, Mor. 720AB (LCL 9:128–29).
Philo Creation 16; Confusion 171.
See, e.g., Cicero Nat. d. 2.54–58.133–46; a Pythagorean in Diodorus Siculus 12.20.2; Epictetus Diatr. 1.6.7; 1.16.8; Heraclitus Ep. 4; Plutarch Isis 76, Mor. 382A; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.167, 190.
E.g., fifth-century B.C.E. Empedocles frg. 11 (Allen, Philosophy, 50); Lucretius Nat. 1.155, 159–160 (though atoms are invisible, 1.265–328); Moffatt, Hebrews, 162, cites Philo Eternity 2.
Plato and Philo believed that visible matter was formed from visible matter (Lane, Hebrews, 332, citing Philo Migration 105, 179; Creation 16, 45; Agriculture 42; Confusion 172; cf. Plato Tim. 29E), though following the invisible pattern.
Heb 11(cf. Boman, «Thought-Forms,» 13; though contrast Montefiore, Hebrews, 188); cf. Philós creation from the invisible archetypal plan (Cherubim 97; 127); Philo Creation 12; 2 En. 47A; 48A (but contrast recension J in both cases). God authored both visible and invisible worlds (Jos. Asen. 12:1–2/2; 2 En. 65:1; cf. the initially invisible earth in Gen 1LXX, due to the «darkness»).
Against the world's uncreatedness and eternality, see even most Diaspora writers, e.g., Josephus Ant. 1.70; Philo Creation 7 (in contrast to Philo Eternity); cf. Wolfson, Philo, 1:180, 301.
Perhaps attested early in 2Macc 7(God made heavens and earth έξ ούκ όντων), although this is disputed in articles cited below; 2 Bar. 21:4; 48:8; Moffatt, Hebrews, 162, cites also Mek. 33b on Exod 14:31; 2 Bar. 14:17; 2 En. 24:2; Philo Dreams 1.13. The earliest Israelite understanding of Genesis мая represent creation ex nihilo (Heidel, Genesis, 89–96), though this remains quite disputed; this view also appears among some African peoples, such as the Nuer, Banyarwanda, and Shona (Mbiti, Religions, 51).
Cf. articles from various perspectives, Goldstein, «Origins»; idem, «Creation»; Winston, «Creation»; in the rabbis, e.g., Pearl, Theology, 10–12.
Wis 11:17; see Winston, «Cosmogony»; Schmuttermayr, «Schöpfung.» One Amoraic exegesis of «It is good» was that God had created and destroyed earlier worlds (Gen. Rab. 9:2; cf. the Greek tradition of various races before the current one). Creation ex nihilo was not typical (cf., e.g., «The Repulsing of the Dragon and the Creation,» trans. J. A. Wilson, 6–7, in ANET; Albright, Period, 17; idem, Yahweh, 223; for chaos in Greek and Roman sources, cf. Hesiod Theog.; Ovid Metam. 1.7).
E.g., Sipra VDDen.par. 22.214.171.124 (trans. Neusner, 1:195).
See Bowman, Documents, 3, citing especially the «Kise ha-Beríah.»
Although some revelations were known to the wise (Wis 7:17; for the «mystery» of creation in 1QH 1.11, 13 as well as other uses of the term there, cf. Casciaro Ramirez, «'Himnos'»), later teachers (2 En. 24A; recension J is similar; the context of chs. 25–32 is creation), especially the rabbis, viewed these as mysteries. Some rabbis claimed that this information was withheld due to human sin ('Abot R. Nat. 39); the prohibition of publicly teaching (t. Hag. 2:1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 21:5; cf. Gen. Rab. 1:5) or even inquiring into (t. Hag. 2:7; b. Hag. 15a; p. Hag. 2:1, §15; Gen. Rab. 1:10; 2:4) such secrets suggests one reason that written references to them surface primarily later in rabbinic tradition.
E.g., Apoc. Mos. 42:1–2 and note b in OTP 2:293; disputes regarding the day on which angels were created, etc., above.
Cf. various sources for his thought proposed in Wolfson, Philo; Dillon, «Transcendence.»
Philo Creation 36; Confusion 171. The human mind is allied to this divine Reason or Logos because it is a copy thereof (Creation 146).
Philo Creation 20, 26, 31; Migration 6; cf. Athenagoras 4.
Philo Planting 8–10; Heir 206.
Philo Creation 17–19, 25, 31. The Logos was perfection, more beautiful than the beauty of creation (Creation 139; cf. Platós ideal forms, above); for the Logos as God's image, see also Philo Confusion 97; Flight 101; for Wisdom as God's image, Alleg. Interp. 1.43.
Philo Creation 16, 26, 36.
Cf. perhaps Ps 33:4–12, although the contemporary word мая simply mean God's decree on Israel's behalf.
Philo Sacrifices 8. The human mind is a copy of the Logos (Philo Creation 146).
Philo Creation 3.
Cf., e.g., Diogenes Laertius 7.1.88; Epictetus Diatr. 2.16.28; Marcus Aurelius 7.9; Watson, «Natural Law,» 216–38.
Other commentators also observe parallels between the two on creation (Robinson, Historical Character, 106–7; Schnackenburg, John, 1:237).
Jub. 2:2; cf. 1QS 3.15; God created people through wisdom, 4Q415 frg. 9, lines 7–11.
1QS 11.11; 4Q402 frg. 3–4, lines 12–13. God created simply by «willing» creation's existence (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.192; cf. Rev 4:11). The anthropomorphism of the later Tg. Neof. 1 on Deut 32required God to sustain the world only three hours a day.
Gen. Rab. 1:1; cf. Num. Rab. 12:4; cf. comments on natural law, above, which Philo also identifies with the Torah of Moses (Creation 3). Moore, Judaism, 268, cites a third-century rabbi who contends that God studied Gen 1 and then created the world to correspond (Gen. Rab. 3:5); in some texts, God took counsel with the (preexistent) souls of the righteous (Gen. Rab. 8:7).
Jdt 16(also mentioning God's Spirit in this connection); 4Q422 1 1.6; 4 Ezra 6:38; Jos. Asen. 12:2/3, MSS; 2 Bar. 21:4; 48:8; Sib. Or. 1.9,19; 3.20 (the instrumental dative λόγω); 2Pet 3:5; cf. 2Cor 4:6; 1Tim 4:4–5.
Sipre Deut. 330.1.1 (trans. Neusner, 2:376); cf. later texts in Gen. Rab. 3:2; 28:2; Deut. Rab. 5:13; p. Ber. 6:1, §6; Deut 33in Targum Onqelos (Memra; cited in Moore, «Intermediaries,» 46); cf. also 1 Clem. 27. Targum Neofiti on the creation narrative emphasizes the creativity of the word of the Lord even more; see Schwarz, «Gen.»
E.g., Mek. Sir. 3.44–45,49–51; 8.88; 10.29–31; Mek. cAm. 3.154–155; Mek. Bah. 11.111–112; Mek. Nez. 18.67–68; t. B. Qam. 7:10; Sipre Num. 78.4.1; 102.4.1; 103.1.1; SipreDeut. 33.1.1; 38.1.3–4; 49.2.2; 343.8.1; 'Abot R. Nat. 1, 27, 37 A. In later texts, cf. the translation «by whose word all things exist» in b. Ber. 12a, 36ab, 38b; 40b, bar.; 44b; Sanh. 19a (pre-Tannaitic attribution); p. Pesah 2:5; Gen. Rab. 4:4,6; 32:3; 55(all Tannaitic attributions); Lev. Rab. 3:7; Num. Rab. 15:11; Deut. Rab. 7:6; Ruth Rab. 5:4; Pesiq. Rab. 21:7; Tg. Neof. on Exod 3:14; cf. Urbach, Sages 1:184–213; Marmorstein, Names, 89 (comparing also a Sumerian psalm).
Urbach, Sages 1:212.
E.g., Smith, John, 23.
Danby, Mishnah, 455, lists them as Gen 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24,26,29; 2:18, but they could be identified differently.
M. 'Abot 5:1; 'Abot R. Nat. 31 A; 36, §91 B; 43, §119 B; Gen. Rab. 16:1; Montefiore and Loewe, Anthology, 399, §1092, also cite Pesiq. Rab. 108ab; cf. «The Samaritan Ten Words of Creation» in Bowman, Documents, 1–3.
2 En. 30(human creation–A, J); 33(planning all creation–A, J); t. Sanh. 8(allegorically interpreting Prov. 9:1); 'Abot R. Nat. 37 A (among seven things); b. Hag. 12a (ten things probably corresponding to ten words in the m. 'Abot 5tradition); Sir 24:3–12 (alluding to Gen. 1; see Kim, Origin, 115). See further Witherington, Sage, 108–11; many scholars view this as part of the background for John 1(e.g., Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 27).
M. 'Abot 3:l4; Sipre Deut. 48.7.1; 'Abot R. Nat. 44, §124 B; Exod. Rab. 47:4; Pirqe R. E1. 11 (in Versteeg, Adam, 48); Tanhuma Beresit §l, f.6b (in Montefiore and Loewe, Anthology, 170–71, §454; Harvey, «Torah,» 1236); cf. Urbach, Sages, 1:196–201,287. Some later rabbis went so far as to attribute the world's creation even to specific letters (e.g., p. Hag. 2:1, §16).
Philo Planting 8–10; Heir 206. God is the bonder of creation in 2 En. 48:6; Marcus Aurelius 10.1; cf. Wis 11:25. For the connection between creating and sustaining, cf. John 5:17. Lightfoot, Colossians, 156, helpfully cites Philo Flight 112 (word); PlantingS (divine law); Heir 188 (word).
Col 1(sustain; hold together) and commentaries (e.g., Lightfoot, Colossians, 156; Kennedy, Theology, 155; Lohse, Colossians, 52; Johnston, Ephesians, 59; Hanson, Unity, 112; Beasley-Murray, «Colossians,» 174); cf. Cicero Nat. d. 2.11.29 (a Stoic on reason); Wis 7(Wisdom's movement does not contrast with Platós unchanging forms; Plato and others envisioned rapid motion in the pure heavens–see Winston, Wisdom, 182). Cf. 1 Clem. 27A; Sir 43.26; cf. Wolfson, Philo, 1:325.
B. Ned. 32a, bar.; Pesah. 68b; Gen. Rab. 4(R. Meir, second century); Exod. Rab. 37:4; Pesiq. Rab. 21:21; perhaps 1 En. 2(cosmic law in the Ethiopie; the Aramaic here is illegible); 72:2; 73:1: 74:1; 76:14; 78:10; 79:1–2; 1QM 10.12–13. This identifying of creative Wisdom and Torah «corresponded in an astonishing way with the Stoic idea of the world nomos and the moral law ordering the life of the individual» (Hengel, Judaism, 1:170; see comments on natural law in our introductory chapter on the prologue).
M. 'Abot 1:2; b. Ned. 32a, bar., R. Judah; p. Tacan. 4:2, §13; Deut. Rab. 8:5; thus Resh Lakish (third-century Palestine) declared that had Israel not accepted Torah, God would have returned creation to nonexistence (b. cAbod. Zar. 3a, 5a; Šabb. 88a; echoed by later rabbis in Exod. Rab. 40:1; 47:4; Num. Rab. 2:6; Ruth Rab. proem 1); Israel's existence also depends on observing Torah (Mek. cAm. 1.6–7). For practicing the cosmic law, cf. similarly Hengel, Judaism, 1:170.
B. Sanh. 113b, bar.; p. cAbod. Zar. 2:1, §1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 19:6; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 1:11; cf. m. 'Abot 1:2, 18; perhaps Isa 51:16; Rom 9:22–23; 2Pet 3:9. This could apply specifically to Israel (e.g., L.A.B. 44:6–8; b. Tacan. 3b, third century; Exod. Rab. 2:5; Num. Rab. 1:3; Deut. Rab. 7:7, bar.; Song Rab. 7:1, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 11:5), to Moses and David (Sipre Deut. 26.1.1), or the patriarchs (Sipra Behuq. pq. 8.269.2.5; Lev. Rab. 36:5) such as Abraham (e.g., Gen. Rab. 12:9, Tannaitic; Ruth Rab. proem 7; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 1:20) or Jacob (Gen. Rab. 96 MSV, Tannaitic); or the sages (Targum to 1 Chr 4:23). The merit of the righteous also preserved localities (e.g., b. Tacan. 21b).
'Abot R. Nat. 31, §66; Gen. Rab. 1:4, 10; 12(fourth century); Lev. Rab. 23(fourth century); Song Rab. 5:11, §4; Pesiq. Rab. 4:3; 21:21; cf. Co1. 1:15–16; Davies, Paul, 171 (who seeks to press the earlier m. 'Abot 1into use). R. Akiba reportedly said this especially of Song of Songs (Song Rab. 1:11, §11), perhaps to keep it canonized. Some thus said that the world was created on the merit of Torah (Num. Rab. 13:15–16; 14:12), and that Torah was greater than creation (reportedly third-century Palestinian source in Exod. Rab. 47:5; Pesiq. Rab. 21:21; 51:1).
2 Bar. 15:7; 21:24; Sipre Deut. 47.3.1–2; b. Ber. 6b, 61b (R. Hanina ben Dosa); Šabb. 30b; Sanh. 98b (David; Moses; Messiah); Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 1(Abraham); Gen. Rab. 1(fifth century); Tg. Neof. on Num 22(the patriarchs); Tg. 1 Chr. 4(the sages); thus some could say the world was created by the righteous (Ruth Rab. 2:3, late), e.g., the patriarchs (Lev. Rab. 36:4, fourth century).
T. Mos. 1:12–13; 4 Ezra 6:59; 7:11; Sipre Deut. 47.3.1; b. Ber. 32b; Pesiq. Rab. 4:1, 3; 28:2; Targum Sheni to Esth 5:1; cf. b. Ber. 32a; even Torah was created for Israel (Mark 2:27; Sipre Deut. 47.3.2; Ecc1. Rab. 1:4, §4, purportedly Tannaitic tradition); the prophets prophesy only for Israel (Mek. Pisha 1.166). Herrn. Vis. 2.4 transfers this image to the church (cf. James in Gos. Thorn. 12); in 2 Bar. 21:7, the world exists for God. For a survey of purposes for creation, see Moore, Judaism, 1:383.
Cf. 1Tim 6:17; 2 Bar. 14:18–19; Gk. Apoc. Ezra 5(ed. Wahl, 31); Apoc. Sedr. 3(ed. Wahl, 39); Ecc1. Rab. 7:13, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 46:2.
Cicero Nat. d. 2.62.154; Chrysippus in Cicero Fin. 3.20.67; Grant, Gods, 114; on Philós use of Stoic tradition here, see Jobling, «Dominion.»
E.g., Chrysippus in Aulus Gellius 7.1.1–2.
Lucretius Nat. 2.167–183; 5.156–194; cf. 5.195–533.
Also Herrn. Sim. 9.12.2. Stuart, «Examination,» 282, translates «by» him rather than «through» him, contending that δια is not always instrumental before a genitive (e.g., Xenophon Mem. 1.2.14).
Based on the sense, Calvin, John, 1:30–31; Ridderbos, John, 37.
Miller, Salvation-History, 14, 76–89 (applying it to the incarnation); Cidrac, «Ponctuation.» Less plausibly, Burney, Origin, 29, suggests an Aramaic reconstruction meaning, "because in him was life.» But it is doubtful that John's wording represents a mistake or mistranslation even on the unlikely thesis that John used a Semitic original for his prologue (cf. Schlatter, «Problem,» 55).
Michaels, John, 7.
Van Minnen, «Punctuation,» prefers «nothing came into being without him that exists in him; he was life»; Cohee, «1.3–4,» views ο γέγονεν as a gloss.
The importance of light imagery for John is rarely missed; cf., e.g., Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 27; Culpepper, Anatomy, 190–92; more fully, Koester, Symbolism, 123–54. «Darkness» (σκοτία) appears eight times in John, six times in 1 John, and twice elsewhere in the NT (although σκότος occurs often in the NT, it appears only once in John; Tenney, John, 306). Given the theological significance of these themes, the common ancient understanding of light from, rather than to, onés eyes (e.g., 1 En. 106:2; Jos. Asen. 6:6/3; Plutarch T.T. 1.8.4, Mor. 626C; cf. Sir 23:19; Allison, «Eye») should never be pressed in John (light was admitted rather than emitted in some texts like Pesiq. Rab Kah. 21:5; cf. Democritus in Diogenes Laertius 9.7.44).
Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 27.
Smith, John (1999), 48.
As Smith, John (1999), 48, notes, it is appropriate there. But such patterns appear elsewhere, e.g., Demosthenes Against Conon 19; Sipre Deut. 161.1.3; b. cAbod. Zar. 20b; p. Šeqa1. 3:3; Ber. 61a; Rom 5:3–5; Jas 1:14–15; 2Pet 1:5–7 (similar to Wis 6:17–20). For similar kinds of repetition, see, e.g., Demetrius 5.268 (for anaphora), 270; Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.25.34–35.
Jonas, Religion, 57–58; Bultmann, Epistles, 16 (stressing gnosticism but also mentioning OT, Judaism, and other Hellenistic sources). Dodd, Interpretation, 36, points out that the divine is both life and light in the Hermetica, especially Poimandres; Lee, Thought, 37, stresses Poimandres as well (Corp. herm. 1.5,6,12,21; 13.7–9,18; also Ginza, R. 5.2,179, 22–27 in Mandean literature).
Minear, Images, 129, contends that the NT image of light draws from all streams of ancient thought (OT, rabbinic, apocalyptic, Essene, hermetic, and gnostic literature), and lists many references in the NT itself (Images, 128; cf. Manson, Paul and John, 118–19).
E.g., Seneca Ep. Luci1. 48.8 (lumen); Plutarch Lect. 17, Mor. 47C (πολύ φως); cf. Philo Creation 53; Porphyry Marc. 13.224; 20.329–330; 26.403,406,415; darkness as ignorance in Valerius Maximus 7.2.ext.la; Maximus of Tyre Or. 29.5; Porphyry Marc. 13.223–225; Acts 17:27; 26:18; Eph 4:18.
Philo Dreams 1.75 (from Ps 27:1). Argyle, «Philo and Gospel,» 385, points to the Logos as a source of light and life in Philo (Alleg. Interp. 3.25–26; Planting 9).
E.g., Maximus of Tyre Or. 34.1; see comment on 20:12. Orators also praised the brilliance of deities (e.g., Menander Rhetor 2.17,438.12–13, 20–24); writers also used light to symbolize the divine nature or care (Iamblichus Myst. 1.9,13).
See on this theme pp. 247–51, above; cf. Platós parable of the shadows in the cave and the necessity of facing the light.
Enz, «Dualism,» thinks the dualism originates ultimately from the good-evil dualism of Israel's history.
E.g., Matt 4(Isa 9:1); 5(Ps 27:1; I would cite here esp. Isa 42:6; 49:6); Luke 2(Isa 42:6; 49:6), as noted by Painter, John, 33.
E.g., 1QS 3.3 and passim; 1Q27 1.5–6; 4Q183 2.4–8 (and perhaps 4Q185 1–2 2.6–8); Γ. Job 43:6/4; Sib. Or. frg. 1.26–27 (in Charles, Pseudepigrapha, 2:377); cf. 1 En. 108:12–14.
E.g., 1QS 3.19–22; 1QM 13.5–6, 14–15. The DSS added dualism to the OT images (Brown, John, 1:340; cf. Charlesworth, «Comparison»); these are now often used as Johannine background here (e.g., Ellis, World, 27–28). Treves, «War,» 421, acknowledges OT influence on the Scrolls' «light» imagery, but thinks the imagery is «ultimately of Iranian origin.» Hebrew emphasis on contrasting opposites (like «day» and «night») to represent a whole (cf. Gordon, East, 35 n. 3), and poetic use of metaphoric language, suggest to us that the imagés Jewish roots lay in the OT, though probably accentuated under Persian influence during the exile (cf. similarly Manson, Paul and John, 118–19).
It existed before visible things (2 En. 24:4, A, J; cf. R. Judah's view in Exod. Rab. 50:1) or appeared on the first day (e.g., b. Hag. 12a; Gen. Rab. 42:3; see fuller discussion in Urbach, Sages, 1:208–10), and by it one could see from one end of the world to the other (3 En. 5:3; b. Hag. 12a; p. Ber. 8:6, §5; Gen. Rab. 42:3; Lev. Rab. 11:7; Num. Rab. 13:5; Ruth Rab. proem 7; Pesiq. Rab. 23:6). Hengel, Judaism, 1:169, points to the «way Jewish-Palestinian and Pythagorean-Platonic and Stoic conceptions are intermingled in Aristobulus» on the primeval light; cf. perhaps the sun's scattering of chaos in Menander Rhetor 2.17, 438.20–24. Cf. the Yozer Or, «The Creator of Light» prayer, in later synagogue liturgy (Bowman, Gospel, 68); Philo Creation 30–35.
Borgen, «Logos,» thinks John midrashically connects Torah with Word and light on the basis of Jewish traditions on Gen 1:1–3 (note esp. 117, 124, 129); cf. Martin Luther, 1st Sermon on John 1. Pagels, «Exegesis,» thinks the Gospel of Thomas interprets primeval light as continuing since creation, but John refutes it.
E.g., 2Cor 4:6; the first-century C.E. pagan writer Longinus Sub1. 9.9 also attributes it to Moses. Cf. the Memra and creation of light in Tg. Neof. on Gen 1:3–5; God distinguished light from darkness for humanity's sake in 4Q392 frg. 1.
Because of human sin, it was hidden till the eschatological time (cf. b. Hag. 12a; Gen. Rab. 11:2; 42:3; Exod. Rab. 18:11; Lev. Rab. 11:7; Num. Rab. 13:5; Pesiq. Rab. 23:6; 42:4).
E.g., 1 En. 1:8; 5:7; 108:11–14; 1QM 17.6–7; 4Q541 9 1.4–5; Sib. Or. 2.316 (probably in Christian redaction); 'Abot R. Nat. 37, §95 B; b. Hag. 12b; Pesah. 50a; Sanh. 91b; Tacan. 15a; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 21:3–5; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 5:1; Exod. Rab. 14:3; 18:11; Lev. Rab. 6:6; Song Rab. 1:3, §3; Ecc1. Rab. 11:7, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 36:1; 42:4; Matt 13:43; Rev 22:5. Boismard, Prologue, 119–24, is impressed with eschatological light in the OT (Job 30:26; Ps 35:8–10; Isa 45for light representing good, ultimately applied to the future in Isa 9:2–6; 42:6–7; 49:6; 60:1–11) as a background for John 1:4; Freed, «Influences,» 145–47, cites numerous passages but believes that Isa 60:1–3,5,19, esp. 1–3, forms the primary background.
Sir 50:6–7 (Simon ben Onias like the sun); L.A.B. 51(possibly Samuel); 'Abot R. Nat. 25 A and b. Ber. 28b (Johanan ben Zakkai); 'Abot R. Nat. 9, §25 Β (Adam as a lamp; p. Šabb. 2:6, §2); 13, §32 Β (R. Eliezer); p. Tacan. 3:9, §4 (Honi the circle-drawer); Exod. Rab. 15(Daniel's friends in Dan 3:27); Pesiq. Rab. 8(the patriarchs); priests (possibly 4Q504–506); cf. 'Abot R. Nat. 24 A and Tg. Ps.-J. on Exod 40(righteous in general); Gen. Rab. 1(righteous deeds). The expression must have been fairly widespread; Anna considers her son Tobias «the light of my eyes» (Tob 10:5); a source мая have been 2Sam 21(cf. 1 Kgs 11:36; 15:4; 2 Kgs 8:19). In the eschatological time, see Wis 3:7–8 (cf. 5:6); Matt 13:43; Rev 22:5; L.A.B. 26:13; 4 Ezra 7:97; 2 En. 65A; Sipre Deut. 47.2.1–2; b. Sanh. 100a; Lev. Rab. 30:2; Ecc1. Rab. 1:7, §9; Abelson, Immanence, 89, cites Ya1. Ps. 72. Cf. a pagan metaphor for a skillful sophist (Eunapius Lives 495) or heroes (Menander Rhetor 2.11, 419.18–20; Philostratus Hrk. 44.5; 45.5).
T. Ab. 7:14B; Gen. Rab. 2:3; 30:10; Pesiq. Rab. 20:2.
Ruth Rab. 2(probably fourth century).
Sipre Num. 93.1.3; b. Sotah 12a, 13a; Exod. Rab. 1:20,22, 24; Pesiq. Rab. 15:4.
1 En. 48(from the Similitudes, alluding to Isa 42:6; 49:6); the eschatological high priest in lQSb 4.27; and Amoraic sources in Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 6:5; Gen. Rab. 1:6; 85:1; Pesiq. Rab. 36:1–2; 37:2; kingship in general in Tg. 1 Chr. SM.
E.g., Sir 17:19; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 5:1; uses of Isa 60in the late Song Rab. 1:3, §2; 1:15, §4; 4:1, §2.
Pesiq. Rab Kah. 21(citing Isa 60:3); Gen. Rab. 59(citing Isa 60:3).
1QH 7.24–25; 4 Bar. 9:3; L.A.B. 12:9; L.A.E. 28:2; T. Zeb. 9(paraphrasing Mai 4:2); PGM 4.1219–1222; perhaps 4Q451, frg. 24, line 7; cf. Sib. Or. 3:285; b. Menah. 88b (late second century); Gen. Rab. 3(third century, citing Ps 104:2; also in Exod. Rab. 50:1); Gen. Rab. 59(citing Isa 60:19); Num. Rab. 15:2; Pesiq. Rab. 8(citing Ps 27:1; 119:105); 21(citing Isa 60:19); Rev 21:23. In rabbinic texts, this often alludes to the Shekinah (the divine presence, closely connected with his glory, although Urbach, Sages, 1:44–47, disputes Abelson's view of its physical nuances), e.g., Sipre Num. 41.1.1; b. Ber. 60b; the Shekinah of the first exodus is also depicted as light (e.g., Wis 17; 18:1–3; b. Menah. 86b; Exod. Rab. 14:3).
Wis 6:12; 7:26, 29–30; 1QS 2.3; 11.5–6; 1QM 1.8; 4 Ezra 14:20–21; cf. Sir 22:11; Tatian 13; Philo Alleg. Interp. 3.45 (the Logos). Cf. the light of knowledge in both LXX and Qumran readings of Isa 53:11, adding (?) light to what became the MT (cf. Seeligmann, «Phos»). For light representing wisdom and law in the OT, see the references in Malatesta, Inferiority, 99–102; Boismard, Prologue, 114 (esp. Ps 19:9; 119:105; Prov 4:18–19; 6:23; Eccl 2:13).
Bar 4:2; 4Q511 frg. 1, lines 7–8; frg. 18, lines 7–8; CI] 1:409, §554 (Hebrew on a bronze lamp in Italy); L.A.B. 9:8; 11:1–2; 15:6; 19:4, 6; 23:10; 33end (legis lumine; MSS: legis lumen); 51:3; 2 Bar. 17:4; 18:1–2; 59:2; Sipre Num. 41.1.2; p. B. Mesica 2:5, §2; Hor. 3:1, §2; Sukkah 5:1, §7; Gen. Rab. 26:7; Pesiq. Rab. 8:5; 46:3; cf. L.A.B. 37(the «truth» from the bush illuminabatMoses); Sipre Deut. 343.7.1; Gen. Rab. 3:5; Exod. Rab. 36:3; Num. Rab. 14:10; Deut. Rab. 4:4; 7:3; Ecc1. Rab. 11:7, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 17:7. Torah also appears as fire (m. 'Abot2:10; Sipre Deut. 343.11.1; 'Abot R. Nat. 43, §121 B–Deut 33:2; b. Besah 25b–school of R. Ishmael; Tacan. 7a; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 3:2; Jer 23:29; Song Rab. 5:11, §6; the Ten Commandments as lightnings in Tg. Neof. on Exod 20:2–3; Tg. Ps.-]. on Exod 20:2–3; Tg. Neof. on Deut 5:6–7) or summons heavenly fire (p. Hag. 2:1, §9; Song Rab. 1:10, §2), and specific commandments, such as the Sabbath, appear as light (Pesiq. Rab. 8:4).
Dodd, Interpretation, 84; Barrett, John, 157; Lightfoot, Gospel, 48.
The «glory» in Exod 33is described as a «cloud» (34:5), which is depicted elsewhere in the context (33:9,10) in terms similar to the pillar of fire (13:21–22; 14:24; 40:38).
See introduction for a brief treatment of this motif. «Life» occurs 36 times in John, 17 times in Revelation, 14 times in Romans, and 13 times in 1 John (Morris, John, 82).
Although Wheldon, Spirit, 18, is not wrong to associate life with the Spirit in John (cf. 6:63), it is first of all associated with Christ.
E.g., Wis 8:13,17; Sir 4:12; 17:11; cf. 1 En. 98:10,14; 2 Bar. 38:2. Greek writers could associate philosophy with living properly (Crates Ep. 6, to students; Cyn. Ep. 56–57–ζην). See also the biblical references in Painter, John, 49.
Bar 3:9; 4:1–2; Pss. So1. 14:1–2; L.A.B. 23:10; 2 Bar. 38:2; m. 'Abot 2:7 (Hillel: the more Torah, the more life, חיים; and later in the same text, «he who gains for himself words of Torah, gains for himself the life of the world to come,» חיי העולם הבא; b. 'Abot6:7, bar.; 'Abot R. Nat. 34 A (among other things); 'Abot R. Nat. 35 B; Sipre Deut. 306.22.1; 336.1.1; b. Hag. 3b; Roš Haš. 18a; p. Ber. 2:2, §9; Exod. Rab. 41:1; Lev. Rab. 29:5; Num. Rab. 5:8; 10:1; 16:24; Deut. Rab. 7:1,3,9; Tg. Ecc1. 6:12. Cf. the tradition of souls departing or being restored at Sinai (usually of Torah bringing Israel life but disobedient nations death), e.g., b. Šabb. 88b; Exod. Rab. 5:9; Lev. Rab. 1:11; Deut. Rab. 1:6; Song Rab. 5:16, §3. The exact sense of Odes So1. 3is slightly more difficult to determine, but мая refer to God as the life (cf. Gen. Rab. 1:5; 43:3; Num. Rab. 10:1).
E.g., Ladd, Theology, 498.
E.g., Bar 4:2; L.A.B. 23:10; Deut. Rab. 7:3; light and eternal life are also linked in, e.g., 2 En. 42(A, J).
Sir 3:5–6, 12–15; L.A.B. 11:9. Long life could reward obedience (1QS 4.7; 11QT 65.3–5; Ps-Phoc. 229–230; b. Ber. 13b, bar.; Meg. 28b; p. Tacan. 4:2, §8; Gen. Rab. 59:1; Num. Rab. 11:4; Ecc1. Rab. 3:2, §3; cf. Josephus War 2.151) but would not be confused with perpetual life (Aulus Gellius2.16.10).
Sipre Deut. 336.1.1; cf. m. Réah 1:1; 'Abot R. Nat. 40A; p. Hag. 2:1, §9; Qidd. 1:7, §6.
E.g., Sophocles Phil 415; Euripides Hec. 435; Hipp. 57; Phoen. 1547–1548, 1553; Ale. 18, 206–207,395,437,852; Virgil Aen. 12.660. «Looking on light» means continuing to live (Ale. 82,271, 457,691, 1073)
E.g., Homer I1. 4.503,526; 5.22,47,310; Euripides Hipp. 1444; Phoen. 1453; Ale. 989–990; Virgil Aen. 6.545; Georg. 4.497; Ovid Metam. 10.54; Propertius Eleg. 2.20.17; Silius Italicus 7.586,690,724.
Lux nostra, Cicero writing to his wife about their daughter, Earn. 14.5.1
E.g., Rhet. Alex. 26, 1435b.25–39; Anderson, Glossary, 21–22; Rowe, «Style,» 142 (citing as examples Gregory Nazianzus Or. 3; Augustine Ep. 196.6); for the LXX, Lee, «Translations of OT,» 780.
E.g., Seneca Ep. Luci1. 122.3–4; cf., e.g., Macrobius Comm. 1.2.2 (in Van der Horst, «Macrobius,» 225; he cites as relevant to John 1also Macrobius Sat. 3.10, where nox me comprehendit); cf. also texts on spiritual blindness in Seneca Ep. Luci1. 50.3; see further under John 9:39–40. See similarly, e.g., Lucan C.W. 6.624; comments on John 20:12.
Gen. Rab. 33:1; 89:1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 9:1; other connotations sometimes existed, however, e.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. 7:12. The contrast between darkness and light did not always have moral connotations, however (Gen 1:14–18).
Cf. 1QS 11.10; 1 QM 13.11–12 («dominion» in line 11 is partly reconstructed, but the parallelism supports it); 15.9.
1QM 1.7, 10; cf. the eschatological end of darkness in 1 En. 58:5–6 (Sim.); Gen. Rab. 89:1. The suggestion that the passage is antignostic (because Gnosticism felt that the cosmos fell into darkness through Fate rather than morally through rejecting the light–Lohse, Environment, 274) is therefore improbable.
Odes So1. 18(Charlesworths Oxford trans., 79).
Dyer, «Light,» parallels the verb with «knew,» etc., and reads it, «appreciated.» Medieval Kabbalah also declares that true light cannot be comprehended (Ginsburg, Kabbalah, 127).
Cf. Burney's unlikely suggestion (Origin, 29–30) that this verb (and possibly its occurrence in 12:35) represents a mistranslation of the Aramaic, confusing the apWel («darken») with the páel ("receive, take").
Boismard, Prologue, 19–20.
Sanders, John, 73; Barrett, «κατέλαβεv,» 297; Lightfoot, Gospel, 89; cf. Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 27. «Darkness» could symbolize ignorance (e.g., Valerius Maximus 7.2.ext.la; Maximus of Tyre Or. 29.5).
Rowe, «Style,» 132 (citing Isocrates Peace 8.101; Cicero Verr. 2.64.155); in Paul, cf. possibly Rom 8:2–3 (Porter, «Paul and Letters,» 580).
Whitacre, John, 52–53.
Cf. similarly Rissi, «Word,» 398; Cadman, Heaven, 21; i.e., it is unlikely that it refers to the fall of Gen 3 (Brown, John, 1:8), as if the chapter were in chronological sequence.
Cf. similarly Ellis, Genius, 22–23.
Cf. Hooker, «Baptist,» 358. Miller, Salvation-History, 4, 88, thinks 1:6–8 мая have been the Gospel's original beginning; but this misses the connection with «light,» which precedes. The suggestion of Teeple, Origin, 133, that the Baptist insertions in the prologue have a different author from that of John 21, the epilogue, because the names are anarthrous in the prologue, fails if the insertions connect to the text of 1:19–36, where articular forms prevai1.
Mark also domesticates the Baptist as a witness to Jesus, though not as rigidly as John; cf., e.g., Marxsen, Evangelist, 33; Trocmé, Formation, 55.
Cf. Strachan, Gospel, 70. Burkitt, Gnosis, 97, even contended that the Fourth Gospel's original readers knew of John but were just learning of Jesus (though they had previously heard of him).
Kraeling, John, 107–8. Reitzenstein's other primary argument for Mandean doctrinés dependence on the Baptist, the alleged priority of the heavenly-man myth before Daniel, is even more clearly without foundation.
Bultmann, «Background,» 33; cf. idem, «Bedeutung,» 142–43.
Backhaus, «Beziehungen»; cf. idem, «Täuferkreise»
Many scholars contend that Jesus was, or probably was, a disciple of the Baptist (e.g., Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 91). While this мая be true (see comment on 3:23–24), arguing that it is the case on the basis of the Gospels and Acts striving so hard to subordinate the Baptist (ibid.) мая be like claiming that because the evidence so strongly favors position A, position A must be a falsification; Sanders's arguments on p. 92 are better. (Some of his contrasts between Jesus and John, however, are less reasonable, apart from John's asceticism and Jesus' eating and drinking; in the temptation narrative, Jesus fasted like John's disciples; John's mission included sinners by repentance; the separation of wheat from chaff resembles judgment language common to both.)
Cf. the question in Marxsen, Mark, 39.
Painter, «Christology,» 51: «In the beginning» vs. «came to be» (though cf. 1:14); «was with God» vs. «sent from God» (though this often depicts Christ, too); «was God» vs. «his name was lohn»; «in the beginning with God» vs. «came for a witness»; «all things came to be through him … in him was life … the light of men» vs. «to witness concerning the light.» These parallels are inexact, but the contrast of 1:8–9 is explicit.
Fritsch, Community, 117, who adds that this «could explain how the Evangelist came to know so much about John the Baptist and the Essene-Covenanter background out of which he came.» Longenecker, Ministry, 70, suggests that the «one baptism» of Eph 4shares this polemical context. Cf. Bultmann, Tradition, 165; Morris, John, 88.
Daniélou, Theology, 62. Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.54 warns that some followers of the Baptist proclaimed him the Christ (cited in Michaels, John, 7; cf. Luke 3:15).
Stanton, Gospels, 167; Kysar, «Contributions of Prologue,» 359 n. 32; cf. still more strongly Smalley, John, 127. Taking an exalted self-understanding back to the Baptist himself (Hengel, Leader, 36) is even harder to argue.
Cf. Kysar, «Contributions,» 359 (suggesting «Jewish opponents… arguing that Jesus was the equal of John the Baptist but no more»). His concessions to Bultmann, but with the warning that Bultmann certainly exaggerated, are in his n. 32.
Cf. Fiorenza, Revelation, 195; cf. also Collins, Oracles, 118, who remarks concerning Egyptian oracles that the purpose of the Jewish Sibylline Oracles «was primarily to establish common ground between the Jewish and gentile worlds.»
«Balaam» suggests an oracular connection (Aune, Prophecy, 218; as the greatest pagan prophet, cf. Josephus Ant. 4.104; Sipre Deut. 343.6.1; 357.18.1–2; Exod. Rab. 32:3; Num. Rab. 14:20; Pesiq. Rab. 20:1; as philosopher or sage, Pesiq. Rab Kah. 15:5; Gen. Rab. 65:20; 93:10; Lam. Rab. proem 2), but he also epitomized wickedness in Jewish lore (e.g., «the wicked Balaam» in m. 'Abot 5:19; b. cAbod. Zar. 4a; Ber. 7a; Sanh. 105b, 106a; cf. Exod. Rab. 30:20; Num. Rab. 20:6), these traditions supplying details missing in Num 22–25; Mic 6:5: leading Israel to immorality, hence judgment (Josephus Ant. 4.157; LA.B. 18:13; Sipre Deut. 252.1.4; p. Sanh. 10:2, §8; cf. Jude 11; Judith 5:20–21; p. Tacan. 4:5, §10), greed and eschatological shortsightedness (2Pet 2:15; Pesiq. Rab. 41:3), folly (2Pet 2:15; Philo Cherubim 32; Worse 71; Unchangeable 181; Confusion 64, 159; Migration 115–cited by LCL l:xxv; Ecc1. Rab. 2:15, §2), and vanity (Philo Confusion 159; m. "Abot 5:19); cf. Caird, Revelation, 39, who cites Philo Moses 1.292–304; Josephus Ant. 4.126–130 in support of the idea that religious syncretism is in view here.
Most commentators take the Revelation reference more literally than meaning inadequate Christology, however (e.g., Bowman, Revelation, 31). For banquets associated with the imperial cult, cf., e.g., CIL 3.550 (Sherk, Empire, §125, p. 165).
Caird, Revelation, 39, noting that Jezebel's «harlotry» in the OT (2 Kgs 9:22) was only figurative; cf. 4QpNah. 3.4; perhaps Wis 14:12. It could refer to literal cultic or other prostitution, as at Baal-peor (Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 86–87), although this is not attested in conjunction with the imperial cult; both readings (spiritual or physical fornication) seem contextually possible (Meeks, Moral World, 146).
Also Hooker, «Baptist,» 358; Boice, Witness and Revelation, 26; Wink, lohn, 105; Collins, Written, 8–11.
Harrison, «John 1:14,» 25.
Rissi, «John 1:1–18,» 398.
Dodd, Tradition, 299, in his comment on 1:20.
Kraeling, John, 51–52. While historically Johns «eschatological 'radicalisation'» lent itself to political misinterpretation (Hengel, Leader, 36), neither political nor moral proclamation characterizes the Fourth Gospel's Baptist.
Meier, «John,» 234. For the passagés authenticity, see also Feldman, «Methods and Tendencies,» 591.
See Culpepper, School, 278.
See 1:7–8,15,19, 34; 2:25; 3:11, 26, 28, 32–33; 4:39,44; 5:31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39; 7:7; 8:13, 14, 17, 18; 10:25; 12:17; 13:21; 15:26–27; 18:23, 37; 19:35; 20:24. Painter, John, 8, counts forty-seven uses in John and only six in the Synoptics, «4 of which refer to the false witnesses at the trial of Jesus» (cf. further ibid., 90); even if John emphasizes separation from the hostile world more than the Synoptics (Goppelt, «Church in History,» 196–97), he seeks to prevent the flow of influence in only one direction.
Casey, «Μάρτυς,» 30–31.
E.g., Plutarch Apoll 14, Mor. 108E («το θείον also testifies to this»); Oracles at Delphi 22, Mor. 405A (Homer testifies); Nicias 6.3 («events έπεμαρτύρει to his wisdom,» LCL 3:226–27); Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.4. Aristotle supposed ancient witnesses the most reliable because they could not be corrupted (Rhet. 1.15.13,1375b; 1.15.17). Trites, Witness, 4–15, shows that they were used in both legal and nonlegal (e.g., historiographie) contexts to establish data.
Trites, Witness, 16–19.
Ibid., 20–47, esp. 35–47 on witness for God in Isa 40–55 (cf. also Cothenet, «Témoignage»). On other Jewish texts, see 48–65 (Philo bridges the gap between the OT and Hellenistic use); in rabbinic literature, see 231–39. John's usage is probably closest to that of Isaiah LXX (cf. Trites, Witness, 112; Caird, Revelation, 18; Boice, Witness, 16).
Cf. Aune, Environment, 81, citing Herodotus Hist. 2.99; Polybius 12.27.1–6; 20.12.8; Lucian Hist. 47 (on autopsia, eyewitness knowledge).
E.g., 1 En. 104:11; 105:1; cf. Aune, Prophecy, 115.
Casey, «Μάρτυς,» 35; Franck, Revelation, 52 (on 15:26, though earlier he acknowledges a forensic context for παράκλητος).
Meeks, Prophet-King, 65 (pointing to the parallel between μαρτυρία and κρίσις in 8:14, 16); cf. Caird, Revelation, 18. Perhaps as early as Revelation, μάρτυς began to take on a meaning it came to acquire more often in patristic literature: martyr (Morrice, «John,» 44; perhaps Abel who μαρτύρησας in T. Ab. 11:2B).
E.g., Trites, Witness, 78–127 (79–90 address John's juridical character; 90–113 address the lawsuit of Jesus' ministry; 113–22 address the postresurrection lawsuit of John 13–17; on the Johannine Epistles, see 124–27; Trites's conclusions are sound). Cf. Burge, Community, 204–5; Harvey, Tria1. John contrasts witness with faithless betrayal (cf. 5:15; 11:46,57; 12:4); the purpose of witness is to reveal the content of the testimony (2:25).
Painter, John, 90.
Steck, «Zeugen,» cites Jub. 1:12; 4Q216.
See esp. 2Macc 3:36 (εξεμαρτύρει… πάσιν); Chariton 4.7.5 (πασιν ανθρώπους; though cf. 7:6, where whole cities did come to meet her).
The sense "from God» fits the genitive (cf. παρά θεών in Musonius Rufus 3, p. 38.27; παρά του θεοϋ in Menander Rhetor 2.1–2,370.21–26 = εκ θεών in 370.29–371.2) as well as the sending.
Also by introducing Johns witness in 1:19–34.
Barth, Witness, 13–14.
Epictetus Diatr. 1.4.31.
See on 1:4–5, above. T. Levi 14declares that God gave the law to «enlighten every person»; the parallel is close, but could depend on John, given the heavy Christian redaction of T. Levi (Bernard, John, 1:13; Brown, John, 1:523; Longenecker, Christology, 12,146).
Although the latter interpretation could be used in an argument for universal salvation, early Christians applied it instead to universal accountability (Rom 1:18–2:15; Justin 2 Apo1. 13).
The «genuine» light of 1contrasts them explicitly; cf. the application of «genuine» to God in the apologetic of Hellenistic Judaism (Best, Thessalonians, 82, cites LXX Exod 34:6; 2 Chr 15:3; Ps 86:15; Isa 65and mentions other sources).
In a negative example, cf. T. So1. 18(πάντα άνθρωπον), though the demon's power is limited. Torah's message is free to all who enter the world (Mek. Bah. 5.100–1).
John 16:21; 1 John 4:9; cf. t. cEd. 1(attributed to R. Akiba); Hag. 1:2; Mek. Bah. 5.100–101; Sipre Deut. 311.1.1; 312.1.1; 313.1.3; Exod. Rab. 4:3.
Wis 14:14; 1 John 4:1. It мая also reflect the Semitic idiom, «coming among people,» which means «among people» (e.g., 1Sam 17:12).
Lightfoot, Gospel, 89.
Glasson, «John 1 9» (citing mainly late sources: b. Nid. 30b; Lev. Rab. 14:2; 31:1,6, 8 [but light in the mothers womb here refers to physical light vs. darkness]; his earlier citation of 4 Ezra 7supports the view no more clearly than does John 1by itself). On prenatal sin, see comment on John 9:2: but Judah ha-Nasi (ca. 200 C.E.) taught that the tempter ruled only from birth (b. Sanh. 91b).
Morris, John, 94.
On this revelation, see Borgen, «Logos,» 129.
Morris, John, 94; MacGregor, John, 11; Schnackenburg, John,\:253, 255; Stuart, «Examination,» 293. The rabbinic phrase «everyone coming into the world» is not irrelevant because it lacks explicit statement of «person» (Stuart, «Examination,» 293) nor simply because John's usage elsewhere is more important (Morris, John, 93–94), true as the latter argument мая be; the rabbinic phrase applies to individuals entering the world (e.g., t. cEd. 1:15; Sipre Deut. 311.1; 312.1.1; 313.1.3) as well as to «everyone,» hence could apply to Jesus as well as anyone else.
Boismard, Prologue, 32.
Cf. the rhetorical practice of distributio (Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.47; Anderson, Glossary, 32–33; cf. Rowe, «Style,» 134), though it is normally more elaborate.
Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 2.11.2 emphasizes that John means not the entire created order here (cf. Isa 1:3) but rather humans who love the world (cf. 1 John 2:15–17).
If John envisions chronological specificity, perhaps 1implies his birth (or préexistence?), but 1the beginning of his public ministry later in this chapter (Luther, 5th Sermon on John i), though this is unclear. Westermann, John, 7, thinks 1:11–12 outlines John's story (coming to his own in 1–6, rejected by them in 7–12, empowering those who received him in 13–17).
E.g., the wicked in Pss. So1. 2who ούκ έγνωσαν αυτόν.
Cf. Dodd, Interpretation, 156, for comments on analogous Jewish and Hellenistic expressions.
On the double sense of «world» here, cf. Ellis, Genius, 23; Stuart, «Examination,» 282.
See Boccaccini, Judaism, 251–65; Donaldson, Paul and Gentiles, 52–74; in Let. Aris., see Boccaccini, Judaism, 176–79.
E.g., 1Macc 5; Jub. 1:9; 15:34; 22:16–18, 20–22; 23:24; 24:25–33; LA.B. 7:3; 12(OTP also cites 4 Ezra 6:56; 2 Bar. 82here); 1Q27 1.9–11; 4QpNah. 1.1; m. cAbod. Zar. 2:1; Ter. 8:12; Sipre Deut. 213.1.1; Gen. Rab. 80:7; Pesiq. Rab. 21:2/3. Texts such as p. Ter. 1:1; 3:8; Pesiq. Rab. 48address Gentiles' sacrifices.
E.g., 1QM 11.12–13; 14.7; 15.1–2; 17.1–2; t. Sanh. 13:2; b. Roš Haš. 17a; Lev. Rab. 13:2; Num. Rab. 19:32; Ecc1. Rab. 1:9, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 10:5; 11:5; cf. 1 En. 99:4; other texts in Bonsirven, Judaism, 65–68; Donaldson, Paul and Gentiles, 52–54. Some of these texts include in the judgment the wicked of Israel as wel1.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 214–15. Urbach, «Self-Affirmation,» 278–84, attributes the predominantly negative attitude toward Gentiles to the period before 70, suggesting that rabbis at Yavneh emended it to avoid profaning God's name. Jeremias, Promise, 40–41, suggests that the negative view (which he мая overemphasize) climaxed in such statements as that of R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, ca. 90 C.E.: «No Gentile shall have a part in the world to come.» But Moore, Judaism, 2:385–86, cites texts indicating that R. Eliezer was believed to have changed his mind; see Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 215, for a critique of Jeremias on this point.
CD 12.6–8; m. Git. 5:9; Ecc1. Rab. 11:1, §1; though cf. Bonsirven, Judaism, 154, for qualifications of this principle. The principle was widespread; Isocrates Ad Nic. 22, Or. 2, stresses the obligation to treat foreigners well for reputation's sake. Ps.-Phoc. 39–40 мая be directed toward just treatment of Alexandrian Jewry rather than toward witness to Gentiles.
Let. Aris. 279 (Ptolemy Philadelphus); t. Sanh. 13:2; Sipre Deut. 307.4.2. This tradition мая have served an apologetic purpose, since idolatry and sexual immorality excluded most Gentile men from the broadest Jewish definition of «righteous»; nevertheless, individual righteous Gentiles do appear (e.g., Sipra A.M. pq. 126.96.36.199; b. Hu1. 92a; Lev. Rab. 1:3; cf. also a third-century C.E. Phrygian inscription, praising one who «knew the law of the Jews"–CI J 2:34, §774). See further Donaldson, Paul and Gentiles, 65–69; for surveys of ancient Jewish texts' diverse positions on the lostness of the Gentiles, see Sanders, Paul and Judaism, 206–12; Bonsirven, Judaism, 66–70; Donaldson, Paul and Gentiles, 52–74; for a broad sampling of rabbinic texts on Gentiles, see Montefiore and Loewe, Anthology, 556–65.
See the references below. The Noahide law tradition in its completed rabbinic form мая not be prerabbinic, but Pseudo-Phocylides contains allusions to it (see P. W. Van der Horst in OTP 2:569), the idea appears as early as Jubilees, and Philo and Josephus attest the tradition (see Schultz, «Patriarchs,» 48–49). Not only does Noah's covenant prefigure Israel's covenant in Jub. 6:4–10 (with 6:15–16, this passage provides an inclusio around 6:11–14); 7:20–25 portrays the Noahide laws more plainly (although Finkelstein, Pharisaism, 223–27, overstates his conclusions from this evidence; see Schultz, «Patriarchs,» 44–45).
1QH 6.2–14; 1QM 12.14 (in both texts, the nations' conversion's function is to exalt Israel's eschatological glory); Sib. Or. 3.710–726 (second century B.C.E.; perhaps also 1.129); T. Zeb. 9(tex-tually uncertain); t. Ber. 6:2; Num. Rab. 1:3. In Pss. So1. 17Gentiles survive under Messiah's yoke.
Cf. Josephus Ant. 20.34–36; Ag. Αρ. 2.210; m. 'Abot 1(if הבריות include Gentiles); b. Šabb. 31a (purportedly Tannaitic); Sank 99b; Gen. Rab. 39:14; 47:10; 48:8; 84:8; 98:5; Num. Rab. 8:4; Ecc1. Rab. 7:8, §1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 1:6; Pesiq. Rab. 14:2; 43:6. For further discussion, see Bamberger, Proselytism, 13–19 (OT period), 19–24 (intertestamental period), 222–25 (early rabbis), 225–28 (the royal house of Adiabene), 267–73 (on Matt 23:15); Urbach, Sages, 1:549–54, passim; Flusser, «Pagan-ism,» 1097; cf. the information in Georgi, Opponents, 83–164, although his conclusions мая go too far.
See, e.g., Hoenig, «Conversion,» 49; Lake, «Proselytes,» 75; Sevenster, Anti-Semitism, 203. Active proselytizing мая have followed Hellenistic models (see Goodenough, Church, 9; Culpepper, School, 117), but the wars with Rome мая have stifled it (Applebaum, Cyrene, 343; Gager, Kingdom, 137; for more detailed history, see Cohen, «Conversion»).
E.g., Orestes in Sophocles Electra; Euripides E1. 202–206,234–236. Cf. also the unpersuasive but accurate mantic (Apollodorus 3.12.5).
Sotades of Maronea (third century B.C.E.) in Stobaeus Anthology 4.34.8 (Boring et al, Commentary, 244); see also on rejected wisdom below.
See Keener, Matthew, 321 n. 26, on Matt 10:15.
Especially in apocalyptic circles, e.g., J En. 42:1–3 (Sim.); cf. similar images of the world's depravity in pagan literature (Ovid Metam. 1.149–150; Fasti 1.247–250; Cicero Quinct. 1.5; perhaps Cicero Mi1. 37.101). Commentators note this theme in Wisdom literature (e.g., Schnackenburg, John, 1:228).
Mek. Bah. 5 (in Urbach, Sages, 1:532); Sipre Deut. 343.4.1; b. cAbod. Zar. 2b; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 2:1; 12:10; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 1:15; Exod. Rab. 17:2; 30:9; Num. Rab. 14:10; Pesiq. Rab. 15:2; 21:2/3; 30:4; cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 2:7; 12:20; also Hengel, Judaism, 1:174–75; Harvey, «Torah,» 1239; Urbach, Sages, 1:327. One мая also compare the tradition of the daily bat qol from Mount Horeb condemning the Gentiles for their neglect of Torah (b. 'Abot 6:2, bar.; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 15:5; Lam. Rab. proem 2), and a different tradition in which the nations copy (plagiarize?) elements of Torah (p. Sotah 7:5, §1). While comments about Torah are most common in rabbinic literature, the similar idea of the testimonium in L.A.B. 11by which God would judge the world probably indicates that this tradition was not limited to rabbinic circles.
B. Yebam. 103b (third century).
E.g., b. cAbod.Zar.3a.
E.g., Mek. Bah. 6.90ff; Sipre Deut. 343.4.1; b. cAbod. Zar. 2b, 64b, bar.; Sanh. 56ab, bar., 59a, bar. (including Tannaitic attribution), 74b; Yebam. 48b; Gen. Rab. 26(including Tannaitic attribution); 34:14; Exod. Rab. 30:9; Deut. Rab. 1:21; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 12:1; cf. Num. Rab. 1:8; Urbach, «Self-Affirmation,» 275–78; Moore, Judaism, 274–75. Proselytes and a few pious Gentile prophets also show that the Gentiles are without excuse (e.g., Lev. Rab. 2:9).
«His own» (neuter) мая refer to the land, and «his own» (masculine) to the people; see Brown, John, 1:10; cf. Westcott, John, 8. Although Galilee is Jesus' native land, his «own» land that rejects him is Judea (cf. 4:45; Meeks, Prophet-King, 40); in 10:3–4, 12, Jesus' «own» is redefined as his true flock. M. Smith, Parallels, 153, finds in «his own» an allusion to Jesus' deity because Israel is regularly God's possession in the Hebrew Bible and Tannaitic literature.
Besides references above, see, e.g., b. cAbod. Zar. 2b; Lam. Rab. 3:1, §1. The language here is Jewish, not gnostic; cf. Teeple, Origin, 136 (in Gnosticism the power «is received by its own»).
Sipre Deut. 311.2.1; the school of R. Ishmael according to b. Besah 25b; Pesiq. Rab. 50:2, bar.
Sipre Num. 83.2.2.
Pesiq. Rab. 20:1.
Pesiq. Rab. 10:6; 21:7. Presumably this represents Israel's role as a «kingdom of priests' (Exod 19:6; cf. LXX and 1Pet 2:9; transformed into a «kingdom and priests» in Rev 1:6; 5:10; cf. Symmachus; Theodotion; see comments on interpretation in Best, Peter, 107).
B. cAbod. Zar. 3a; Meg. 15b. In late tradition, all generations of Israel, including souls not ye: created, were at Sinai to receive their share of Torah (Exod. Rab. 28:6). In contrast to Gentile sins-Israel's were like those of an infant kicking the mother in the womb, hence were not judged as an offense (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 9:5).
L.A.B. 44.6–8. In later tradition, had Israel not received Torah at Sinai, God would have destroyed the world then (Pesiq. Rab. 21:4).
Some Amoraim contended that this was Israel's one unforgivable sin (p. Hag. 1:7, §3). Other traditions declared that God did not hate Israel, though Israel hated him (Sipre Deut. 24.3.1); though Israel had most of humanity's share of wisdom and Torah, it also had most of the world's hypocrisy (Esth. Rab. 1:17).
Culpepper, Anatomy, 169. On the foreshadowing, cf. Ellis, Genius, 9.
See the reception of Jesus in 4:45; 5:43; of his fulness in 1:16; of his witness in 3:11, 32–33; 5:34; of his representatives in 13:20; of his Spirit by faith in him in 7:38–39; 14:17; 20:22. The aorist мая imply a deliberate, single act of rejection (Morris, John, 97), but aorists also can summarize larger periods, and мая refer to Israel's failure to respond to his whole ministry, even if climaxed specifically in the cross. In either case, it certainly refers to the incarnate Christ (Vos, «Range,» 571).
Cf. Brown, «Prologue,» 436; Hamerton-Kelly, Pre-existence, 211.
Freed, «Samaritan Converts,» 252, suggests that the «name» Jesus bears is the «I am,» a frequent divine name in both Jewish and Samaritan sources.
1 En. 6(if Semyaza means «he sees the Name»); cf. Bonsirven, Judaism, 7 (citing 1 Chr 13LXX; m. Ber. 4:4; Yoma 3:8); Bowman, Gospel, 69–98, esp. 69–77. «The Name» appears as a title for Christ in Jewish Christian theology (Daniélou, Theology, 147–63; on 150 he finds this even as early as the NT: John 12with 17:5; Jas 2:7; 5:14).
E.g., 1QM 11.14; 2 Bar. 5:2.
Isa 29:23; Ezek 39:7; 1 En. 9:4; Sipra Emor par. 188.8.131.52; b. Pesah. 53b; Šabb. 89b; p. Sanh. 3:5, §2; Num. Rab. 15:12; prayer on Samaritan bill of divorce (Bowman, Documents, 328); cf. Moore, Judaism, 2:101–5; the «sacred letters» in Let. Aris. 98; cf. b. Šabb. 115b, bar.; Pesiq. Rab. 22:7; engraved on Israel's weapons, Song Rab. 5:7, §1; 8:5, §1. One мая also compare Matt. 6and its sources in the Kaddish and the third benediction of the Amidah (the latter is called «the sanctification of the name,» m. Roš Haš. 4:5); eschatological sanctification of the Name in Ezek 28:22; 36:23; 38:23; 39:7; and see comment on John 17:6, 17, 19, below.
E.g., Sir 23:9; Josephus Ant. 2.276; Sib. Or. 3.17–19 (probably pre-Christian); 1QS 6.27–7.1; m. Sanh. 7:5; t. Ber. 6:23; Ecc1. Rab. 3:11, §3; cf. Lev. 24:11,16; b. Sanh. 60a, bar.; Bietenhard, «όνομα,» 268–69 (for alleged exceptions in the temple service, see m. Sotah 7:6; Sipre Num. 39.5.1–2; Marmorstein, Names, 39; Urbach, Sages, 1:127; cf. Lemaire, «Scepter»); among the Samaritans, see Jeremias, Theology, 10 n. 1. The Qumran sectarians often wrote the Tetragrammaton in Paleo-Hebrew letters (probably to show it special honor, but cf. Siegal, «Characters,» comparing the rabbinic teaching), as did early Greek OT manuscripts (see Howard, «Tetragram»).
Cf., e.g., Sent. Sext. 28, a second-century Christian work.
E.g., Pr. Jos. 9–12; Lad. Jac. 2:18; Incant. Text 20.11–12 (Isbell, Bowls, 65); 69:6–7 (Isbell, Bowls, 150); CIJ 1:485, §673; 1:486, §674; 1:490, §679; 1:517, §717; 1:523, §724; 2:62–65, §819; 2:90–91, §849; 2:92, §851; 2:217, §1168; T. So1. 18:15–16 (the Solomonic tradition recurs in b. Git. 68a; Num. Rab. 11:3); Smith, Magician, 69; cf. Apoc. Zeph. 6:7; Apoc. Ab. 17:8, 13; examples in Deissmann, Studies, 321–36; Nock, Conversion, 62–63; MacMullen, Enemies, 103; Knox, Gentiles, 41–42. Cf. the namés power in Pesiq. Rab. 21:7; Urbach, Sages, 1:124–34; Bietenhard, «όνομα,» 269; in Jewish mystical experience, see Scholem, Gnosticism, 32–33. Name invocation was common practice (e.g., Apuleius Metam. 2.28; 3.29; Twelftree, «ΕΚΒΑΛΛΩ,» 376; Koester, Introduction, 1:380).
E.g., I En. 43(Sim.)
Richardson, Theology, 45, regards this «peculiarly Johannine» πιστεύουσιν εις τό όνομα as a probable «reference to the baptismal confession of faith in Christ's name»; cf. Dodd, Interpretation, 184. Philo мая employ «the Name» as a title of the Logos (Confusion 146, in Longenecker, Christology, 43), but the title usually applies to God himself; early Christians, however, transferred it to Jesus (Longenecker, Christology, 45–46). «Believe into» мая reflect the varied use of prepositions in Koine, though Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 14–15, suggest antilanguage for an antisociety.
Speaking in another's name was acting as that person's messenger or traditionary, e.g., «Abba Saul said in his [R. Johanan ben Zakkaís] name [literally, from his name, משם]» (m. 'Abot 2:8). Believers are also forgiven «on account of Jesus' name,» i.e., through his merit ( 1 John 2:12).
Bultmann, John, 58. Cf. corporate apotheosis in Hellenistic texts in Tabor, «Sons,» though even Paul, like John, reflects more Jewish concerns (Israel's future glory in the prophets and Jewish corporate eschatology).
Seneca Dia1. 1.1.5; cf. Epictetus Diatr. 1.9.6 (through rational communion with deity); 1.19.9.
Diogenes Laertius 7.147; Epictetus Diatr. 1.3.1; 1.6.40; 1.9.4–7; 1.13.3–4; 1.19.12; 3.22, 82; Alexander 15 in Plutarch S.K., Mor. 180D; Plutarch R.Q. 40, Mor. 274B; Macrobius Sat. 4.5,4 (citing Virgil Aen. 6.123; Van der Horst, «Macrobius,» 226); Musonius Rufus 18a (112.23–25L/96.1–3H; in Van der Horst, «Musonius,» 309).
Homer Il. 2.371; 3.276,320,350,365; 16.458; Od. 14.440; Hesiod Theog. 457,468,542; Scut. 27; Op. 59,169; Sophocles Ajax 387; Euripides Medea 1352; Aristophanes Clouds 1468–1469. Cf. the exposition of Homer in Cornutus Nat. d. 9 (Grant, Gods, 78). For much fuller documentation, see Keener, Matthew, 217, on Matt 6:9.
Zeus in Diodorus Siculus 1.12.1; Babrius 142.3; Orphic Hymns 15.7; 19.1; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.241; Virgil Aen. 1.60; 2.691; Georg. 1.121, 283, 328; Apollo in PGM 1.298, 305; Ouranos in Orphic Hymns 4.1; Herakles in Orphic Hymns 12.6; Janus in Martial Epigr. 10.28. For much fuller documentation, see Keener, Matthew, on Matt 6:9.
E.g., Philo Confusion 170; Moses 2.238; Decalogue, 51, 105, 107; Spec. Laws 1.14, 22, 32, 41, 96; 2.6, 165; 3.178,189; Virtues 64, 77, 218; Rewards 24; Contemp1. Life 90; Eternity 13; Embassy 115, 293; QG 2.60; the Logos is the Father in Confusion 41.
E.g., Sib. Or. 3.726 (second century B.C.E.: God as γενετήρ, «begetter»), 604 (God as the αθάνατος γενετής, «the immortal begetter»); perhaps Pr. Jos. 1 (maybe second century C.E.; similar to other magical texts and probably Jewish). Although Montefiore, «Father,» contends for this universal usage in the NT, it probably appears only in Acts 17:28–29 (cf. the critique of Jeremias, Prayers, 43 n. 70); but in other early Christian literature, cf. also Theophilus 1.4; Athenagoras 13, 27.
Sobriety 55–56, 62–63 (LCL 3:472–73).
Vellanickal, Sonship, 50, and Dodd, Interpretation, 60, citing Philo Confusion 145. On a birth from God, cf. QG 3.60; Dreams 1.173; Alleg. Interp. 3.219, in Vellanickal, Sonship, 51. For divine son-ship in Philo in general, see Vellanickal, Sonship, 50–52.
Hagner, «Vision,» 83–85. Argyle, «Philo and Gospel,» 385, cites Philo Confusion 147 to indicate that Philós Logos also makes people God's (or at least the Logos's) children.
E.g., 4QDibrê ham-Méorôt 3.4–10 (in Vellanickal, Sonship, 31); 1QH 9.35–36 (often applying only to the true remnant of Israel, not to ethnic Israel as a whole). Cf. «son» in Jub. 2:20; 19:29; and God as Israel's father in Jub. 1:25.
Pss. So1. 17:27.
Perhaps Tob 13:4. Cf. Hengel, Son, 51, on Sir 2(the righteous); 18(Israel). Cf. God as «the Father» in T. Job 33Ρ (vs. S, V); 33(P, S, V); Γ. Ab. 16:3; 20:12A.
Wis 2:13,16,18; 5:5. At least the latter applies especially to Israel as wel1. See also 4Q416 frg. 2 (4Q417) 1.13 (in Wise, Scrolls, 384); 4Q418 frg. 81, line 5.
See Johnson, Prayer, 61.
Cf., e.g., Wis 5:5; Pss. So1. 17:30; Sib. Or. 3.702–704 (second century B.C.E.); Jub. 1:28. Even here, however, the title is not conferred but recognized eschatologically (e.g., cf. Jub. 1:25). Israel's sonship in the OT also had eschatological associations; see in Vellanickal, Sonship, 25–26.
Cf. m. 'Abot 3:15. Later rabbis contended that one who teaches his neighbor Torah is as if he begot him (e.g., b. Sanh. 19b). In Pesiq. Rab. 21God gave Torah to his children Israe1.
Sipre Deut. 43.8.1; b. Šabb. 31a; Yoma 76a; Exod. Rab. 15:30; Lev. Rab. 10:3; Num. Rab. 16:7; Deut. Rab. 2:24; 10:4; Lam. Rab. proem 2; Lam. Rab. 1:17, §52; SongRab. 2:16, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 15(often in parables); cf. Gen. Rab. 86(modeled after Exod 4:22, but the tradition is attested early in Jub. 19:29).
E.g., 'Abot R. Nat. 35, §77; 44, §124 B; Sipra Behuq.pq. 2.262.1.9; Sipre Deut. 43.16.1; 45.1.2; 352.7.1; b. Šabb. 31a, 128a; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 9:5; 14:5; Exod. Rab. 46:4–5; Num. Rab. 5:3; 10:2; Deut. Rab. 1:6; 3:15; Lam. Rab. proem 23; Lam. Rab. 3:20, §7.
Sipre Deut. 96.4.1; cf. similarly Sipre Deut. 308.1.2. The discussion continues in later texts: Israel are God's children when they obey him (Deut. Rab. 7:9); God begot Israel as an only child, but will treat them as slaves if they disobey (Pesiq. Rab. 27:3; cf. John 8:35); Bonsirven, Judaism, 48–49, cites some other revelant texts (including Sipre Num. on 15:41).
E.g., b. Ber. 7a (apocryphal bat qol to R. Ishmael), 19a (Honi the Circle-Drawer, but the antiquity of the tradition is difficult to date); cf. Sukkah 45b (R. Simeon ben Yohai). See especially Vermes on charismatic rabbis, discussed on pp. 270–72 (Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 210–11, citing b. Tacan. 23b; followed by Borg, Vision, 45; tentatively by Charlesworth, Pseudepigrapha and NT, 82).
See on «the Jews» in the introduction, above; cf. similarly Ellis, Genius, 24. Early Jewish readers, both Christian and non-Christian, probably assumed the idea of future inheritance in sonship language; see Hester, Inheritance, 42.
E.g., m. Sotah 9:15; t. B. Qam. 7:6; Hag. 2:1; Péah 4:21; Sipra Behuq. pq. 8.269.2.15; Sipre Deut. 352.1.2; b. Ber. 30a, bar.; p. Sanh. 10:2, §8; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 24:9; Lev. Rab. 1:3; 7:1; 35:10; see further texts in Marmorstein, Names, 56–58; cf. 3Macc 5:7; 7:6; personal prayer in Jos. Asen. 12:14. Outside 3Macc 6:8, the title appears regularly in prayers, especially in rabbinic texts (Moore, Judaism, 2:202–10; cf. McNamara, Targum, 116ff.), but these probably reflect some early and widespread prayer language (e.g., the Kaddish, adapted no later than Q in the Palestinian Jesus tradition; see Moore, Judaism, 2:213; Smith, Parallels, 136; Jeremias, Theology, 21; Jeremias, Prayers, 98); see esp. Vermes, Jesus and Judaism, 40. «My father» мая have sounded strange (Jeremias, Message, 17; idem, Prayers, 57; Israel as a whole applies it in Sipra Qed. pq. 184.108.40.206), but «our Father» certainly did not. For OT usage, see Jeremias, Prayers, 12; for «intertestamental» literature, see ibid., 15–16; nor is the title unique to Judaism and its religious descendants (Mbiti, Religions, 63, 83).
E.g., Matt 6:9/Luke 11:2. The alleged Pompeiian evidence (Botha, «Prayer,» 43) is not, however, compelling (see Baines, «Square»).
Jeremias contends that the use of «Abba» for God was unique to Jesus until passed on to Jesus' followers (Jeremias, Prayers, 57; followed also by Bruce, Time, 21–22); Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 210–11, cites b. Tacan. 23b to the contrary, but if the tradition there is pre-Christian, it is still parabolic and rare rather than vocative and standard (as apparently with Jesus; cf. already Klausner, Jesus, 378). Whether Christians learned «Abba» from Jesus' example (Mark 14:36) or from an Aramaic address in the Lord's Prayer (e.g., Ridderbos, Galatia, 158; Hunter, Predecessors, 50; for the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic rather than Hebrew, see Jeremias, Theology, 188–89; idem, Prayers, 95–98; Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 19–20; but then why not include the common «Abba» in the prayer?) or experienced the cry ecstatically based on either tradition (Lull, Spirit, 67; cf. Aune, «Magic,» 1550) is disputed.
Cf. also Paul on «adoption,» where he apparently follows the Roman concept of adoption attested by witnesses (Rom 8:15–16); the custom is Greco-Roman, especially Roman, not Palestinian Jewish (Lyall, «Law»; idem, Slaves, 67–99; cf. Hester, Inheritance, 18–19, 59; Ramsay, Teaching, 203; Sanday and Headlam, Romans, 203; Ferguson, Backgrounds, 51; Deissmann, Studies, 239; idem, Paul, 174–75; Tarn, Civilizations, 101–2; on witnesses also to Roman wills, cf. Gaius Inst. 2.104–108; Justinian Inst. 2.10.6–11). Adoptive sons have the same legal standing as genetic sons (Gaius Inst. 2.136) and come under the father's full authority (Gaius Inst. 1.97–117, cited in Lefkowitz and Fant, Life, 189–90, §194; cf. Lyall, «Law,» 466).
See Pancaro, «People,» 126–27, who argues that «scattered children of God» is a double entendre for Diaspora Jews (the traditional sense John exploits here) and all those who believe, united in Christ.
This is not to exclude the value of human effort once authorized; in Xenophon Oec. 7.27 God gave both genders equal βξουσίαν to exercise self-contro1. Whitacre, John, 36,55, finds an antimony (a figure used by both Greek and Jewish writers) linking both divine election and human responsibility (with John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 10.2); see our comment on 6:43–44 for Jewish thought on the matter.
Contrast the language of some rabbis (e.g., 'Abot R. Nat. 12 A; 26, §54 B; Sipre Deut. 32.2.1; Song Rab. 1:3, §3), although the language is essentially hyperbolic (cf. similar language in b. Sanh. 99b); the rabbis would have attributed the conversion to God as wel1.
Cf. 1QH 9.14–16; Lev. Rab. 14:5; in Greco-Roman antiquity in general, cf. Keener, Marries, 80, esp. nn. 155–56 on 187. The contrast between human and divine will (also 3:8) reflects the Johannine emphasis on God's will (4:34; 5:30, 40; 6:38, 39; 7:17; 9:31; cf. 5:6) vs. the world's rebellion, and God's will to give life (6:40; cf. 5:21). Cf. Plutarch T.T. 8.1.3, Mor. 718A: God created the cosmos but not δια σπέρματος.
Many considered passion virtually irresistible (e.g., Sophocles Track. 441–448; Publilius Syrus 15, 22; Plutarch Oracles at Delphi 20, Mor. 403F-404A; see further Keener, Matthew, 186, on Matt 5:28). Some later rabbis attributed to the yetzer hara the positive function of incentive for procreation (Gen. Rab. 9:7; Ecc1. Rab. 3:11, §3).
See Keener, Marries, 74, esp. nn. 76–77 on 179–80; on paternal authority, see ibid., 98 and nn. 110–119 on 197–98.
So, e.g., Achilles Tatius 1.3.2.
Virgil Aen. 2.74. Rarer uses, such as «blood» meaning courage (Aeschines Ctesiphon 160), make much less sense here.
A Semitic play between dm ("blood") and dmut («likeness,» e.g., Gen 5:1) would be unintelligible to most of John's audience.
See Gardner, Women, 53, citing Aristotle Gen. Anim. 773a, 30ff.; cf. Pliny Nat. 7.49. In Greek myth a mother could bear twins, one for her husband and the other due to divine impregnation (Pindar Ryth. 9.84–86).
Boismard, Prologue, 44. Cf. Lightfoot, Talmud, 3:241, who associates «bloods» here with a passage in Exod. Rah. that reads Ezek 16:6's plural for bloods as a reference to circumcision and Passover; he thus applies it to the means of conversion for proselytes.
Bernard, John, 18; cf. Boismard, Prologue, 44 (though Boismard suggests that this мая represent a textual error).
Lucretius Nat. 4.1209–1232. Cf. also van der Horst, «Emission.»
Wis 7:2, also noted in this connection by Bernard, John, 18.
That the point is simply «not by natural intercourse» is usually agreed; e.g., Michaels, John, 8.
Cf. Talbert, John, 77, 98 (on 1:18; 3:6), for the ancient Mediterranean epistemological premise that only like recognizes like, hence necessitating the incarnation for sufficient revelation.
Boismard, Prologue, 135–45, esp. 136–39; Enz, «Exodus,» 212; Borgen, Bread, 150–51 (concurring with «recent scholarship,» which «has shown [this] convincingly»); Hanson, «Exodus» (including rabbinic material); Harrison, «John 1:14,» 29; Mowvley, «Exodus.» Schnackenburg's recognition of mere echoes (John, 1:281) is too weak.
E.g., Ellis envisions a Greek contrast between matter and spirit (World, 19) that John is refuting (World, 35). Contrast Betz and Smith, «De Ε,» 95, who compare Plutarch Mor. 388F, noting, «That God could be perceived in the world is typical of Greek thinking.» The thought of incarnation, however, is hardly Greek (Barrett, John and Judaism, 25; cf. Haenchen, John, 1:119).
On which see comment on 19:34. Greek thought allowed for mortals to become immortal, but not the reverse (Talbert, Gospel, 77–78; cf., e.g., Ps.-Callisthenes Alex. 1.38). Cf. Goodenough, Church, 10: Mysteries «led the initiate up to the deity» but, unlike Christianity, did not bring the deity down. Hellenistic Christians apparently soon viewed the incarnation as a means of divinization for humanity (cf. Odes So1. 7:3).
Diogenes Laertius 7.1.147 (LCL 2:250–51); cf. Alexander son of Numenius, who declares God «unbegotten and always indestructible» (Rhetores graeci 3.4–6 in Grant, Religions, 166). Barclay, «Themes,» 115, appeals here to the Orphic «body-as-a-tomb» idea.
Epictetus Diatr. 2.8.2. Augustinés comments on his pre-Christian Platonic understanding мая be used to highlight the unintelligibility of divine enfleshment for a Platonist (see Hays, Vision, 142). Later neoplatonists could detest the body as evil (Eunapius Lives 456); see comments on the gnostic view of matter as evil on 1:3.
Such a God, being incorporeal, lacked even the lower aspect of the soul, being pure reason (Maximus of Tyre Or. 27.8).
Some Platonists had to answer the objections this raised to traditional religious rites (e.g., Iamblichus Myst. 1.8).
In a philosophic system where the true person is formless, bodiless, and apprehended only by intellect (Porphyry Marc. 8.147–150), genuine incarnation would be impossible. (Such philosophical qualms stood behind some of the church's fourth-century christological debates.)
See Dillon, «Transcendence,» 1,6 (citing Plato Rep. 6.508E ff.).
John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 11 (antidocetic); Strachan, Gospel, 18–19; Argyle, «Incarnation,» 137; Barclay, «Themes,» 115–16; Ellis, World, 36; Lohse, Environment, 274; Schnelle, Christology; for the view that Cerinthianism is here opposed, see Stuart, «Examination,» 38; Harrison, «John 1:14,» 26; Talbert, John, 73–74 (cf. Irenaeus Haer. 3.11.1). For attitude of gnostics toward «flesh,» see Schmithals, Gnosticism, 155–66. Various religious traditions have «incarnations» of various sorts (see, e.g., Hoynacki, «Flesh»), but Christianity is the only monotheistic religion that has one.
Lutz, «Musonius,» 64–65, cites parallels in Xenophon Cyr. 8.1.22; Philo Moses 2.1.4; Clement of Alexandria Strom. 2.438).
Homer Il. 4.86–87, 121–124; 13.43–45, 69, 215–216, 356–357; 14.136; 16.715–720; 17.71–73, 322–326, 333, 554–555, 582–583; 20.79–81; 21.284–286, 599–611; 22.7–11; 24.354–458; Od. 1.105, 420; 2.267–268,382–387,399–401; 6.21–22; 7.19–20; 8.8,193–194; 10.277–279; 13.221–222,288–289; 22.205–206,239–240; 24.502–505, 548; Virgil Aen. 12.784–785; Ovid Metam. 1.676; 6.26–27.
E.g., Ovid Metam. 2.425, 434–437, 850–851; 4.222; 14.765–771.
E.g., Homer Il. 22.224–231 (which Hector realizes too late, 22.298–299); Ovid Metam. 3.275–277.
Homer Od. 17.484–487; Ovid Metam. 8.626–627; cf. Ovid Metam. 1.212–213.
Ovid Metam. 2.698.
Käsemann, Testament, 65, 76–77. Noting that the emphasis of 1is not flesh, Käsemann wrongly ignores the statement altogether (p. 9), citing Johannine miracles to prove that Jesus was not human (though many of these are paralleled in the Synoptics!). Bultmann, John, 61, reads John's language here as mythological, analogous to the gnostic Redeemer myth (on which see comments in our introduction). For developed docetism, see Hippolytus Haer. 8.2; 10.12.
E.g., Bornkamm, «Interpretation,» 94 notes that it anachronistically reads later categories into the first century. On Jesus' humanity in the Fourth Gospel, see, e.g., ÓGrady, «Human Jesus»; Kysar, «Contributions,» 354; Smith, Theology, 166–68; and esp. Thompson, Humanity.
Gilbert, «Notes,» 45; Cranfield, '"Became,"' 215; Sanders, John, 79), in contrast to texts merely postulating préexistent souls (e.g., Plato Phaedo 76CD; Meno 81 BD; Epictetus Diatr. 2.1.17; Wis 8:20; cf. 3 En. 43:3; h. Hag. 12b; Gen. Rab. 8:7; Dillon, Platonists, 177). ÓNeill, «Flesh,» thinks εγένετο here means «born»; but while this was the means (18:37), it is not the specific sense of the term here (cf. 1:3,6, 10, 17).
Cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 4:4. Sipra Behuq. pq. 3.263.1.5 emphasizes God's eschatological immanence in anthropomorphic parabolic language.
Pesiq. Rab Kah. 23:4; cf. Fritz, «Midrash.»
E.g., 1QM 12.10 («man» simply functioning as «one»); Amoraim in Ecc1. Rab. 2:21, §1; 8:1, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 14:10; cf. Exod 15(but איש מלחמה is idiomatic for «warrior»); the expression is applied to an angel in Num. Rab. 10:6. For explanations of anthropomorphisms, see, e.g., Aristobulus frg. 2,4 (Eusebius Praep. ev. 8.9.38–8.10.17; 13.13.3–8; in OTP 2:837–41).
Ezekiel the Tragedian, Exagoge 70 (second century B.C.E.; see OTP 2note); Justin Dia1. 59:1. Philo calls the Logos «God's Man» (Confusion 41,62,146) and the «Man after his image» (Confusion 146); but Philo would have rejected actual incarnation (Dodd, Interpretation, 60; see above).
The School of R. Ishmael opposed such anthropomorphisms (Marmorstein, Names, 65–67); for some opposition to anthropomorphism in the LXX, see Gard, Method, esp. 32–46.
See Goshen Gottstein, «Body.» For its pedagogic function, see Stern, «Anthropomorphism.»
E.g., Ishmael and Akiba, according to Gen. Rab. 22(on Gen 4:1); cf. perhaps b. B. Bat. 75b (interpreting Jer 23by Ezek 48:35); Šabb. 55a and Sanh. 94a (applying Isa 9:5–6 to Hezekiah, but without clear indication of polemic). Boring et a1., Commentary, 246, and Smith, John (1999), 58, cite Philo Embassy 118: It would be easier for God to become human (Philo is assuming this impossible) than for humans to become God.
Drummond, «Genesis,» suggests that the incarnation crowns John's picture of the new creation paralleling the crowning creation of humanity in Gen. 1, but this insight on intertextuality probably exceeds John's own purpose; more likely, έγένετο signifies that Jesus accepts the limitations of existence in the creation that έγένετο through him (1:3; see Westcott, John, 11; Harrison, «John 1:14,» 26). Because John moves from a universal Jewish Logos theology to a particularistic Christology in the incarnation (cf. Boyarin, «Binitarianism»), some (e.g., Buzzard, «John 1:1») take the Logos as God's eternal purpose that became identified with a particular person, Jesus, only in 1:14; but Johannine Christology (see 8:58; 17:5) argues against this.
Boismard, Prologue, 48–49; Morris, John, 103–4; survey of background in Coloe, Temple Symbolism, 31–63; against Barrett, John, 165. Jesus thus becomes the new temple (Jerusalem was God's tabernacling-place, κατασκήνωσις–Tob 1:4); see comment on 2:19–21; 4:21–24; 7:37–39; 10:36; 14:2–3; and cf. Brown, Community, 49; Painter, John, 57; cf. commentators on the hidden manna and ark under Rev 2:17.
Stuart, «Examination,» 311; Hoskyns, Gospel, 148; Gaston, Stone, 209; contrast Barrett, John, 165.
Sir 24:8; the parallel is widely noted (Harris, «Origin»; Vos, «Range,» 404; Haenchen, John, 1:119; Gaston, Stone, 209; Glasson, Moses, 66; Hoskyns, Gospel, 148; cf. Barrett, John, 166). Cf. Bar 3:37; Philo Alleg. Interp. 3.46 and Congr. 116 (the tabernacle represents Wisdom); Posterity 122 (the λόγος θείος ενοίκει among those who contemplate eternal things); cf. T. Levi 2:11; 5:2; 6:5; the name in Did. 10.2.
Bruns, Art, 91.
On the sukkah recalling the wilderness cloud of glory, hence God's sheltering presence, in rabbinic texts, see Rubenstein, "Sukkah" Isa 4suggests an eschatological cloud of glory for a new exodus (even more emphatic in Tg. Isa. 4:5).
Wis 12:1; See further Isaacs, Spirit, 23. Isaacs suggests that Philós doctrine of immanence мая reflect dependence on biblical tradition as well as on the language of the Stoa (Spirit, 29).
'Abot R. Nat. 1 A; b. Yoma 4a (early Tannaitic attribution); Num. Rab. 11:6; Pesiq. Rab. 21:6; cf. Urbach, Sages, 1(citing m. 'Abot 3:2, the oldest comment on the Shekinah); Abelson, Immanence, 143–45; with the Word, 146–49. Wisdom has glory in Wis 9:11, and functioned as God's glory or Shekinah in the wilderness, guiding the righteous and being a covering by day and flame of stars by night (Wis 10:17; cf. Exod 13:21).
4Q504 4.2–6; Num. Rab. 12:3; 14:22; Song Rab. 3:11, §2; Pesiq. Rab. 5:7, 9; 7:4; Tg. Neof. on Exod 25:8; cf. Urbach, Sages, 1:51–53; for transferral of the idea to synagogues, see Lev. Rab. 11:7; glory is associated with booths in the wilderness, but again only rarely (b. Sukkah lib, attributed to R. Eliezer vs. R. Akiba). Some Amoraim sought to harmonize the universality of God's presence with its localization in the tabernacle (e.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. 1:2; Num. Rab. 12:4; Song Rab. 3:10, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 5:7). On glory and the tabernacle, see Exod 40:32–36; 1 Kgs 8:10–11; Boismard, Prologue, 144.
B. Šabb. 33a; Gen. Rab. 97 (NV); Exod. Rab. 2:2; for similar association of glory with the temple, see Pesiq. Rab. 1:2; 32:1. For the Spirit dwelling in God's temple, see Isaacs, Spirit, 25 (citing Josephus Ant. 8.114 as a Spirit-parallel to rabbinic Judaism's Shekinah). Sievers, «Shekhinah,» thinks that the Shekinah мая have been more universalized after the templés destruction in 70. Naturally God's glory was also portrayed as dwelling in heaven (1QS 10.3).
Mek. Sir. 3.67 ff.; b. B. Qam. 83a; Sanh. 58b; Yebam. 64a, bar.; Num. Rab. 11:5; cf. Pesiq. Rab. 12(citing Tannaim); for «the righteous,» see Gen. Rab. 86(second-century attribution).
Exod 13:21; 40:36–38; Neh 9:12; Ps 78:14; Mek. Šir. 3.67 ff.; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 5:1; cf. Ps 80:1; Isa 63:14; Urbach, Sages, 1(citing Sipre Num. 80, 84). Glory, of course, had always been associated with that event (e.g., 2Macc 2:7–8; Pss. So1. 11:2–6). From at least the second century, however, rabbinic tradition indicated that the Shekinah also participated in Israel's captivity in Egypt and Babylonia (Mek. Pisha 14.87ff.; Mek. Bes. 3.82–83; Sipra Behuq. pq. 6.267.2.6; Sipre Num. 84.4.1; p. Tacan. 1:1, §10, citing a Tanna; Exod. Rab. 15:16; Num. Rab. 7:10; Lam. Rab. 1:5, §32; cf. Cohen, «Shekhinta»; as late as the Zohar, cited in Siegal, «Israel,» 106).
Abelson, Immanence, 380–82, notes that although kabod («glory») sometimes is identified with Shekinah, they are not always the same; but he feels that δόξα in the NT covers the semantic range of both terms (380). Burney, Origin, 36, imports the Aramaic yekara («glory») alongside Shekinah (presence) here.
With Collins, Written, 198–216.
See Coloe, Temple Symbolism, 11, and passim. Coloe also points to other Johannine passages pregnant with temple symbolism.
E.g., Num. Rab. 20:10; see Kadushin, Mind, 223–26 (against medieval philosophers); cf. Abelson, Immanence, 98–134, followed also by Isaacs, Spirit, 25–26. In one late personification, the departing Shekinah kissed the walls of the temple (Lam. Rab. proem 25).
Kadushin, Mind, 226–29; cf. Abelson, Immanence, on the Shekinah as the «immanent God» (pp. 117–34).
E.g., 1QM 12.10. God's face was «glorious» as he led Israel out of Egypt (1 En. 89:22).
Marmorstein, Names, 88, finds it especially in the Targumim; for «glory of the Lord» as a divine circumlocution, see, e.g., Tg. Neof. on Gen 1:17, 28; 2:3; 9:27; 11:5; 17:22; 18:33; 22:14; 28:16; Exod 17:7,16; 19:11; 33:23; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 17:22; 18:1,33; 28:13; Tg. Onq. on Lev 9:4. Rabbis disputing an interpretation of R. Isaac, a second-century Tanna, call him «The Glory of the Life of all worlds» (Gen. Rab. 100:5).
E.g., 'Abot R. Nat. 38 A; Sipra Qed. pq. 220.127.116.11; par. 18.104.22.168; Sipre Deut. 258.2.3; 320.2.1; b. Ber. 5b; Roš Haš. 31a; Šabb. 33a, 139a; Yebam. 64a, bar.; Yoma 21b;p. Sanh. 8:8, §1; Deut. Rab. 5:10; 6:14; Ruth Rab. 1:2; cf. Sipre Num. 1.10.3; Urbach, Sages, 1:286–87 (citing Mek. Pisha 5); pagan deities in Ovid Fasti 1.247–250; Plutarch Them. 10.1; so with Wisdom (Wis 1:4; 6:12–25, esp. 6:23; cf. Wis 7:25–26; Babrius 126). The Shekinah was progressively banished from, and then reinvited to, earth CAbotR. Nat. 34 A; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 1:1; Gen. Rab. 19:7; Song Rab. 5:1, §1); because of sin, his tabernacle or temple was necessary to bring his presence (Pesiq. Rab 7:4). For the Shekinah continuing with Israel even when they sin, see Abelson, Immanence, 135–42.
Especially on the clouds of glory in the wilderness or revealed to Moses: Sipre Deut. 305.3.1; 313.3.1; 355.6.1; Gen. Rab. 60:16; Exod. Rab. 45:5; Num. Rab. 19:20; Song Rab. 4:5, §2; SongRab. 7:6, §1; cf. Pesiq. Rab. 10on a later period.
E.g., CD 20.25–26; 1QM 12.12; Sib. Or. 3.282; Lev. Rab. 1:14; Num. Rab. 21:22; Deut. Rab. 6:14; Esth. Rab. 1:4. Some eschatological glory texts refer to a new exodus (e.g., Isa 40:5; 2Macc 2:7–8; Pss. So1. 11:6; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 5:1).
In classical Greek it often signifies «reputation» or «opinion» (Liddell and Scott, Lexicon, 444). But the NT often takes the sense beyond this, following the LXX's novel translation of kabod (Harrison, «John 1:14,» 28; Holwerda, Spirit, 2–3); others also followed the LXX (e.g., «splendor» in Γ. Job 33:4), and various senses could be used in the same proximity (e.g., honor in 1Macc 14:35; adornment in 1Macc 14:15; the Hebrew means «honor» in Mek. Pisha 1.89–105).
Perhaps this includes the disciples' transformation (cf. 14:13; 15:8; 17:10, 24) as Moses was transformed by viewing glory (2Cor 3:7–18). «Signs» and «glory» were already connected in the LXX (Num 14:22; perhaps Sir 45:3, also concerning Moses; cf. Exod 16:7; Epp, «Wisdom,» 145, cites Num 14:22).
Often pointed out, e.g., Bürge, Community, 132–33; Holwerda, Spirit, 5–8; Bruce, Message, 105; Nicol, «Research,» 16; cf. Whitacre, Polemic, 117; Dodd, «Prologue,» 22 (Christ's incarnate life and death are the revelation of God's love); Pamment, "Doxa" (after 2:11, «glory» alludes to God's revelation of love, echoing Isaiah LXX).
θεάομοα is not theologically significant in 1:38; 4:35; 6:5, and in 1and 11does not differ in sense from its synonyms; in this context it is interchangeable with όράω (1:18).
Contrast Brown, Community, 32, on 1 John 1:1–3 (who sees that text as an appeal to eyewitness tradition but refuses to accept the claim implicit in the first person pronoun there). Harrison takes the «us» among whom the Word dwelt as the people of 1rather than the «we» who beheld his glory (Harrison, «John 1:14,» 27). A single author could also employ an authorial «we» (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Demosth. 58; cf. perhaps 2Cor 1:6).
Against Bousset, Kyrios-Christos, 228. «Beheld» is a natural transition from the prologue to the narrative (Ridderbos, «Prologue,» 195).
For various suggested OT associations, see Olsson, Structure, 70–71. Israel's «beholding» God in Exod 24could be applied to the Shekinah (Lev. Rab. 20:10, citing a third-century Palestinian source).
Ovid Metam. 3.280–286,292–295, 308–309 (as lightning).
See comments on the transfiguration in Keener, Matthew, 437, and sources cited there, esp. Moses, Transfiguration Story, passim.
See von der Osten-Sacken, «Geist,» against Bultmann.
See Glasson, Moses, 69; Bruce, Message, 105.
See Abelson, Immanence, 82–89, for the frequent relationship between Shekinah and light.
Kirchhevel, «Children,» compares Tg. Isa. 53here and in John 12.
See, e.g., Herlong, «Covenant»; Boismard, Moïse; Glasson, Moses; Teeple, Prophet.
E.g., Sophocles Searchers 218, though Zeus already had other children.
Homer Il. 5.314, 318; 16.460; of a deity in Homer Il. 14.338; Od. 5.28.
Cf., e.g., Manson, Paul and John, 133; Du Plessis, « Only Begotten'»; Morris, John, 105; Roberts, «Only Begotten'»; Pendrick, «Μονογενής»; cf. Westcott, Epistles, 169–72.
Roberts, «Only Begotten;» 4; also Harrison, «John 1:14,» 32
Cf. Dahms, «Monogenēs» (also arguing from the LXX that the «unique» view has less support than its proponents claim); cf. Athenagoras 10. The phrase also appears in late apocryphal works such as Apoc. Sedr. 9(ed. Wahl, 42). 1 Clem. 25.2 applies it to the phoenix as unique (Bernard, John, 1:23).
The Syriac, ca. 170 C.E.; Coptic, ca. 200 C.E.; Old Latin, late second century C.E. (Roberts, «Only Begotten,'» 3).
Coverdale (1535) and Tyndale (1525), as against «only begotten» in Wycliffe, Rheims, Genevan, Bishops, KJV, etc. (Roberts, «Only Begotten,'» 2).
E.g., Plutarch Ε at Delphi 11, Mor. 389F (LCL 5:226–27); cf. Mor. 423AB, cited by Wicker, «Defectu,» 165.
Luke does, however, acknowledge Jesus as Son also by the virgin birth (1:35).
Heb 1(in the context of 1:3–9); 5:5 (in the context of 5:6); on exaltation and sonship Christology, cf. Longenecker, Christology, 93–98.
Stevens, Theology, 124. Kysar suggests that John fuses the themes of filial obedience (although this is not merely Jewish, as his words could imply) and a Hellenistic ontological conception (Maverick Gospel, 40).
Against Bulman, «Son.» But Bulman, like proponents of the «unique» view, is right to look elsewhere for the term's source than to Jesus' birth in the Fourth Gospel, which does not mention it (cf. Roberts, «Only Begotten,'» 5).
E.g., Philo Confusion 63 (πρωτόγονον, ό γεννηθείς); the title could also apply to pagan deities (Fortuna as Primigeniae, Livy 43.13.5). Scott, Gospel, 201–2, thinks John's picture of Jesus' sonship derives from Philós portrayal of the Logos; Borgen, «Agent,» 146, compares the two. Ps 89is probably the background for «firstborn» in Heb 1(Lindars, Apologetic, 211) and Col 1(e.g., Ladd, Theology, 418–19).
Cf. Dionysius of Halicarnassus RA. 3.1.3 (μονογενός). Bernard, John, 1:23, Hoskyns, Gospel 149, and Roberts, «Only Begotten,'» 8, cite, e.g., Judg 11:34; Ps 35:17; Jer 6:26; Amos 8(cf. similarly Tob 3:15; 6:10, 14; 8:17; Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38; cf. Plato Tim. 31); technical exceptions include Heb 11:17; Josephus Ant. 20.19–22. They also cite non-Jewish examples in Plautus Captives 1.147,150; Aegeon Comedy of Errors 5.1.329; cf. similarly Du Plessis, «'Only Begotten,'» 30 n. 5 (on Plautus).
Bernard, John, 1:23–24, and Roberts, «Only Begotten,"' 8, cite examples in Psalms (22:21; 25:16; 35:17).
Abelson, Immanence, 164–65, also linking the term to μονογενής.
Sir 36:12 (πρωτόγονος); Pss. So1. 18:4; 4 Ezra 6(also «only begotten,» OTP 1:536); cf. Jub. 19:29. Israel was beloved to God like an only child (Simeon ben Yohai in Exod. Rab. 52:5; Lev. Rab. 2:5; later rabbis, Song Rab. 5:16, §3; Israel as an only daughter, Song Rab. 2:14, §2; 3:11, §2). «Son» usually represents Israel in rabbinic parables (Johnston, Parables, 587).
Bar 3:36–37 (ήγαπημένω); Pss. So1. 9(λαός, öv ήγάπησας); Jub. 31:15, 20; 4 Ezra 5:27; Rom 11:28; 'Abot R. Nat. 43, §121 B; Sipre Deut. 344.1.1; 344.3.1; 344.5.1; Song Rab. 2:1, §1; 2:1, §3; Tg. Isa. 1:4. Sipre Deut. 97.2 interprets Deut 14as declaring that «every individual Israelite is more beloved before [God] than all the nations of the world» (trans. Neusner, 1:255). Different rabbis applied the title «most beloved [of all things]» variously to Torah, the sanctuary, or Israel (Sipre Deut. 37.1.3); for some rabbis, God's love for Israel was the heart of Torah (Goshen Gottstein, «Love»).
E.g., R. Ishmael (3 En. 1:8); Esdram (Gk. Apoc. Ezra 1[ed. Wahl, 25] ); articular if the article for «holy prophet» includes this, the καί being epexegetical); Sedrach (Apoc. Sedr. 3[ed. Wahl, 39]). Early Christian texts naturally transfer the title to Jesus (Mark 1:11; 9:7; Matt 3:17: 17:5; Luke 3:22; Eph 1:6; Acts Paul 3:11Paul and Thecla 1; Gk. Apoc. Ezra 4[ed. Wahl, 30]). Ancients regarded being the «beloved of the gods» (θεοφιλής) a special privilege (Plutarch Lycurgus 5.3, LCL 1:216–17).
Three Hebrew Children 11; Philo Abraham 50; cf. p. Ber. 9:5, §2.
T. Ab. 7:1; 8ΙΑ; Γ. Isaac 2:20, 25 (probably a Christian work); Philo Abraham 50; Gen. Rab. 59:9.
Cf. the righteous in Wis 4:10; Pss. So1. 13:9; T. Jos. 11:1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 9:1. Later midrash could view God as the «beloved» of Song 6(p. Ber. 2:7, §2).
Kysar, «Contributions,» 359.
Du Plessis, « Only Begotten,'» 23 (Heb 11:17). Although Ishmael was already grown, he was effectively disinherited in Gen 21:10–12; cf. Frymer-Kensky, «Relationships,» 213 (citing Hamm. 170–171).
When Deut 16 lists first sons, then daughters, slaves, and Lévites, rabbis remarked, «the most beloved comes first» (Sipre Deut 138.2.1; 141.2; Neusner, 1:331, 337); Jeremiah could call his scribe Baruch, «my beloved son» (ϊίε μου αγαπητέ) (4 Bar. 7[Kraft, 38–39] ); like a king who favors his youngest son, God loves Benjamin in a special way (Sipre Deut 352.7A). Thus Horus мая appear as Isis's and Osiris's «beloved son» (PDM Sup. 131) by borrowing the earlier Christian expression, but мая simply be «beloved» as a son would normally be.
Tob 6:14; cf. Gen 42:38. Thus one took special care with such a son (e.g., Aeneas in Sib. Or. 11.149, from Egypt, possibly first century B.C.E.).
Tob 8:17; cf. 4 Ezra 10:1. Only sons could hold a special place because they were heirs, regardless of their behavior; cf. Manasseh in Ascen. Isa. 1(probably pre-Christian material); see comment on John 8:35.
Julius Pollux, in Roberts, «Only Begotten,'» 7.
Ibid., 7, citing Hesychius Pollux 3.19. Further, «Aquila and Symmachus have monogenes in every context where the LXX and Origen have agapētos' (Roberts, «Only Begotten,'» 13).
CIJ 1:96, §137. Cf. Homer Il. 16.460. Normally one would have compassion on someone who had lost a son (cf. Plutarch Camillus 11.2).
Sipre Deut 313.1.4; Gen. Rab. 55:7. Cf. also references above to Isaac as «beloved»; similar language from Abraham to Jacob in Jub. 19:27. The Akedah was among the Genesis texts apt to be emphasized in the Second Temple period (4Q252 1 3.6–9); in later texts, Isaac's willingness to be sacrificed proved meritorious (e.g., Tg. Neof. on Gen 22:8, 10, 14; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 22:1,10 and on Lev 22:27; contrast the Greek child sacrifice tradition in Aeschylus Agamemnon 205–247).
Since both Isaac and Ishmael were only sons of their mothers and Abraham loved both, they said that God had to specify further (e.g., Gen. Rab. 55:7; Pesiq. Rab. 40:6). Early Christian art applies the Akedah to Jesus' death (Jensen, «Binding»); but Hayward, «Sacrifice,» argues that the later Akedah haggadah is without Christian influence.
Josephus Ant. 1.222.
Many commentators, e.g., Bernard, John, 1:23–24; Hoskyns, Gospel, 149; Michaels, John, 8.
Some even suggest deliberate Isaac typology in John; see Kruijf, «Glory,» 123.
Cf. Du Plessis, «'Only Begotten;» 26,29 (citing John 3:16; 18:1; 1 John 4:9).
Wis 7:22 (μονογενές). Rabbinic texts often identify God as the «unique» or «only» one of the world (e.g., Sipra Sh. M.D. 99.2.3; b. Pesah. 118a–as Abraham was; p. Meg. 1:9, §1; Roš Haš. 1:3, §42; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 4:1; Gen. Rab. 98:13; Num. Rab. 10:5; Song Rab. 1:9, §2, with a second-century attribution, if reliable).
See Harris, Jesus as God, 84–87, also noting that the issue is not Jesus being «begotten» but being the only one of his kind.
E.g., martyrs' hope «full of immortality» (Wis 3:4). In John, cf. fulness of joy (3:29; 15:11; 16:24; 17:13) or of physical bread (6:12; cf. 6:13,26) or water (cf. 2:7, different term).
Emphasizing «a unified cosmos» (Lincoln, Ephesians, 73; cf. Long, Philosophy, 157); cf. the Cynic Diogenes in Diogenes Laertius 6.2.38. Some suspect popular Stoic influence on the use of the term in Pauline epistles, e.g., Benoit, «'Pleromá»; Lyonnet, «Adversaries,» 147–48.
Bury's references to the Logos being «full» of divine graces (Logos Doctrine, 28–29; cf. Philo Alleg. Interp. 3.77–78; Planting 87–89; Confusion 123) мая be relevant as a parallel usage to John 1:14, though not as a source for it. In Hellenistic Judaism, the omnipresent God (Let. Aris. 131–132; Philo Alleg. Interp. 1.44; 3.4; Confusion 135–136; Names 27; cf. 2 En. 39:5; Cicero Resp. 6.17.17; cf. references in Knox, Gentiles, 163; Moore, Judaism, 1:370–72), the Spirit, and Wisdom fill the cosmos (Wis 1:7; Sir 24:25; cf. Sib. Or. 3.701; cf. Bogdasavich, "Pleroma"), but «fulness» does not always appear in a technical sense (e.g., Sir 1:16).
E.g., Irenaeus Haer. 1.1.1; Prayer of the Apostle Paul (trans. Dieter Mueller, NHL 28); Gospel of Truth (trans. George W. MacRae, NHL 37). Sandmel, Judaism, 474 n. 5, is among those who dismiss the gnostic sense in John here. It is unlikely elsewhere in the NT as well; cf., e.g., Overfield, «Pleroma»; Arnold, Ephesians, 83–84; Baggott, Approach, 70; Lincoln, Paradise, 146; Hamerton-Kelly, Pre-existence, 183; Yamauchi, Gnosticism, 46; contrast, e.g., Hanson, Unity, 117.
For John, «glory» includes «divine nature» (Bratcher, «Glory»).
Many commentators acknowledge the allusion to Exod 34:5–6 here, e.g., Westcott, John, 13; Barrett, John, 167; Epp, «Wisdom,» 138; Boismard, Prologue, 54–56; Dahl, «History,» 132; Lee, Thought, 40; Gaston, Stone, 209. Most acknowledge that the phrase is dependent on the Hebrew expression even if they do not cite Exod 34as the specific allusion (e.g., Stuart, «Examination,» 316; Dodd, Bible, 75; Hoskyns, Gospel, 150; Ladd, Theology, 230). Readers naturally continued to find God's special mercy toward Israel in this passage (b. Roš Haš. 17b), rightly understanding it to imply that God's mercy exceeds his anger (e.g., t. Sota 4in Urbach, Sages, 1:450).
Hanson, «Exodus,» 93; Vellanickal, Sonship, 153–54. Χάρις can mean «charm» (Demetrius 3.128–156) or, more aptly here, «generosity» (Grayston, Gospel, 12, citing inscriptions).
For Johns composite text types, see in general Freed, Quotations.
Barrett, John, 167; Epp, «Wisdom,» 138; Richardson, Theology, 281–82; Schnackenburg, John, 1:272. Philós preferred term for God's gracious activity is also χάρις (Schnackenburg, John, 1:272). Because only χάρις recurs in the prologue and neither term occurs in the Gospel outside the prologue, Johannine usage is not decisive in this case (Epp, «Wisdom,» 139). Though when conjoined with speech (λόγος and other terms), χάρις could mean «charm» (e.g., Homer Od. 2.12–13; Plutarch Cic. 39.6; Demosth. 7.2; Menander Rhetor 2.5, 395.4; 2.6,400.1; 2.7, 405.28; 2.17, 446.12), the exodus background and the «word» as Torah suggest «generous kindness» instead.
Epp, «Wisdom,» 138, and Westcott, John, 13, cite texts including 2Sam 15LXX; Ps 25:10; 40:11; 57:10; 89:1,2,14,24,33,49; 86:15; 108:4; Hos 4:1; Tob 3(citing Ps 25:10).
See Charlesworth, «Comparison,» 415, who cites חסדו in 1QS 4.4 and ורוב חסדים in 1QS 4.5. The component ideas by themselves need require no allusion at all; cf. God's «grace and mercy» in Wis 3:9; his «kindness» and «truth» in Wis 15:1; the «graces of [his] blessing» in 1QM 12.3. God's names that are not sacred (perhaps meaning nontechnical titles) include «full of grace» and «full of mercy» in p. Meg. 1:9, §17.
Michaels, John, 8, is among those who suggest that it modifies Jesus instead, citing Acts 6:3, 5, 8; 7:55; 11:24); the adjective is itself indeclinable.
Dodd, Studies, 141–42; idem, Interpretation, 82,295, citing Midr. Pss. 25:10.
E.g., Marcus Aurelius 1.14. See comment on John 3:21.
See, e.g., Let. Aris. 206 (with note in Hadas, 206, citing Prov 24LXX; Arrian Alex, pref.; Diodorus Siculus 1.70.6); see comment on John 7:10–13.
Often «truth» vs. «opinion» (e.g., Diogenes Laertius 9.22, Parmenides, ca. 500 B.C.E.); for Stoics, truth especially involved propositions (Mates, Logic, 33–36). For Plato, truth is perceived with the soul, not with the eyes (Rep. 7.527E).
Plutarch Isis 2, Mor. 351E; for Justin Martyr and the Gospel of Truth, see Story, Truth, 220–23.
Marcus Aurelius 9.1.2. Cf. Irenaeus Haer. 1.1.1, where gnosticism's first aeon emanated nous and alëtheia.
E.g., 1 Esd 4:38–39; T. Jud. 14:1. Pagan thought also could connect truth and virtue (e.g., Marcus Aurelius 3.11.2), though mainly portraying deceit against reality itself as the impiety (e.g., Marcus Aurelius 9.1.2); the different sources of truth reflect the different concepts of morality.
E.g., Ps 119:160; 2 Bar. 44:14; T. Ash. 6:1, 3; cf. Philo Alleg. Interp. 3.45 (on the Logos); later rabbinic sources like b. Abod. Zar. 4b; Exod. Rab. 30(purportedly Tannaitic, but probably later); Num. Rab. 12(third-century attribution); Dodd, «Background,» 335, cites Midr. Pss. 25:10, which мая also illustrate the principle of exposition grounded in more explicit texts such as Ps 119:160; Prov 23:23. Cf. perhaps even Philo in Knight, "Aletheiá' Some writers, including Painter, John, 46; Longenecker, Christology, 40, suggest a contrast between Jewish views of Torah and the view of Jesus in John 14:6.
So, e.g., Dodd, Bible, 67–75; Manson, Paul and John, 94; Boice, Witness, 62; Ladd, Theology, 264. Thus lying to save another's life (often in the OT) could be viewed as an act of truth; Epictetus Diatr. 4.6.33 also allowed lying in some cases (LCL 2n. 1, cites also Stobaeus Ee1. 2.7,11).
1QS 11.4; cf. 1QM 13.9–10. In later rabbinic texts, אםח actually becomes a surrogate name for God (p. Sanh. 1:1, §4; Marmorstein, Names, 73,179–81; Urbach, Sages, 1:181).
Dodd, Interpretation, 170–78 (reality); Cadman, Heaven, 24.
Cf. Kuyper, «Grace,» 15–19; Ladd, Theology, 264–69; van der Waal, «Gospel,» 28–33; Boice, Witness, 62; Lindsay, «Truth.» Cf. Schnackenburg, John, 2(in Excursus 10, «The Johannine Concept of Truth,» 225–37); Albright, «Discoveries,» 169, on Qumran contacts.
Epp, «Wisdom,» 138–39.
Kuyper, «Grace,» 14; Pancaro, Law, 541. For a distribution of αλήθεια by writer (25 times in John, 20 in Johannine Epistles, 47 in Paul, 1 in Matthew, 3 in Mark, 3 in Luke, etc., and distribution of the adjectival cognate), see Morris, John, 294.
John surely knew both senses (Harrison, «John 1:14,» 33).
Barrett, John, 167.
See above. That the Baptist's voice ends in 1is clear, but Origen Comm. Jo. 6.13 thought it ended in 1(in contrast to Heracleon, who ends it in 1:17).
That John implies temporal precedence (i.e., the Logos's preexistence) is evident from the context; see Stuart, «Examination,» 318; Hoskyns, Gospel, 151 (contrasting Matt. 3:11); Dodd, Tradition, 272. The logic here resembles the rhetorical form called an ένθύμημα (enthymeme; see, e.g., Anderson, Glossary, 44; Vinson, «Enthymemes,» 119).
E.g., Meier, Marginal Jew, 2:19–22, 116–30; cf. John 1:29.
Stuart, «Examination,» 318.
Fulness of a virtue can mean its epitome (Sir 1:16). Gnostics viewed the Pleroma as the sum of the aeons (Irenaeus Haer. 1.1.1; 1.5; cf. Prayer of the Apostle Paul in NHL, 28; Gospel of Truth in NHL, 37); but against the gnostic interpretation of Bousset, Kyrios Christos, 228, cf. Harris, «Origin,» 417–18 (Colossians, John, and gnosticism drew the word from wisdom motifs; cf. Sir 2:16; 35:14–15); Overfield, «Pleroma.» Few current commentators find gnosticism here (Schnackenburg, John, 1:275; Sandmel, Judaism, 474 n. 5). See comment on «full» in 1:14.
Against ÓNeill, «Prologue,» 44–45, who thinks that the last phrase of v. 16 and the whole of v. 17 «form a long interpolation,» but admits that no textual evidence supports his hypothesis. Michael, «Prologue,» 278, likewise suggests an accidental change from an original χάριν άντί νόμου without any textual evidence.
See DeSilva, Honor, 104–5, 116 (citing esp. Sophocles Ajax 522; Seneca Benef. 2.35.1), though not on this passage. Ancients would associate «grace» with patronal generosity or benevolence (DeSilva, Honor, 104–5, citing esp. Aristotle Rhet. 2.7.1, 1385al6–20; idem, «Patronage,» 768; following Danker, Benefactor).
MacGregor, John, 20, citing Philo Posterity 145; Stevens, Theology, 96; Edwards, «Grace»; Brown, John, 1:16; Moloney, Belief, 46–47; cf. Westcott, John, 14 (citing the thought of m. 'Abot4:5); Stuart, «Examination,» 321; note Jeremias, Message, 85; Haenchen, John, 1:120.
See Boismard, Prologue, 60–61.
On this linguistic use, see Blumenthal, «Χάρις.»
So Ridderbos, John, 56.
Sir 26:15. The preposition differs (as most scholars cited above would point out, stressing άντί in 1:16); but LXX readers might have suspected an allusion; prepositions were losing some force by the Koine period.
Compare emphatic expressions such as «from glory to glory» (2Cor 3:18) or «from faith to faith» (Rom 1:17); «from evil to [greater] evil» (Jer 9:3; cf. 2Tim 3:13); «from strength to strength» (Ps 84[83LXX]); perhaps Ps 103(«from age to age»). «Evil on evil» (Homer Il. 16.111) simply underlines Aias's suffering; cf. the emphatic rhetorical flourish in Menander Rhetor 2.3,378.29–30. Similar plays on words appear, e.g., in p. Meg. 1:9, §13 («from the Faithful to the faithful, from the Righteous One to the righteous» [trans. Neusner, 19:59–60]).
So also others, e.g., Boismard, Prologue, 62. Dumbrell, «Law,» proposes that Christ here fulfills God's original purpose in the law-giving of Exod 19–20 as opposed to the second law-giving in Exod 34; this requires us to assume that the Johannine community accepted a difference between the two gifts of Torah (a possible reading of John because midrashically natural, but not clear in the text).
See Whitacre, Polemic, 68,108; cf. Dahl, «History,» 132–33.
Against Sikes, «Anti-Semitism,» 24; Strombeck, «Grace,» esp. 90; Ackerman, «Psalm 82,» 190–91.
Against Pancaro, Law, 540; cf. even Epp, «Wisdom,» 139: «Torah has been displaced–superseded by Jesus Christ,» though he notes that the contrast is temporal rather than qualitative (pp. 140–41).
The argument that John must oppose Torah because Jesus speaks of «your law» falters on the analogy that he also calls Abraham «your father,» «though obviously no disparagement of Abraham is intended (cf. 8.39–40), but rather of their appeal to him» (Whitacre, Polemic, 65–66).
See Carson, Discourse, 28.
Pancaro, Law, 534–46, argues correctly that the parallelism here is antithetical rather than synthetic. Some ancient versions, including the Peshitta, understood (and translated) an implicit adversative (see Baarda, «John 1,17b,» also suggesting that «grace» was missing in an underlying text).
Harrison, «John 1:14,» 35; cf. Jones, «Moïse»; Trudinger, «Prophet.»
The repeated קנה emphasizes the parallel structure.
See, e.g., Boccaccini, Judaism, 171–74; Sanders, Judaism, 275–78; Limbeck, Ordnung, passim.
1 Esd 9:39; LA.B. 11:2; 'Abot R. Nat. 1 A; Sipre Deut. 305.1.2; Ned. 38a; cf. Barrett, John, 169; Sib. Or. 11.37 (Egypt, маяbe first century B.C.E.); cf. texts that stress Torah as God's gift, e.g., Sipre Deut. 32.5.10; Lev. Rab. 35:8; Num. Rab. 19:33. Moore, Judaism, 1:398, cites also the ancient Ahabah Rabbah preceding the Shema. Despite Moses' greatness, others were worthy that Torah should have been given through them: Ezra (t. Sanh. 4:7; b. Sanh. 21b; p. Meg. 1:9, §3); yet Moses was «the best-known figure of Jewish history in the pagan world» (Gager, Moses, 18), and pagans called Moses the νομοθέτης of the Jews (Gager, Moses, 25; for positive views, see 25–79; for deficiencies, 80–112).
Philo мая have claimed that God authored only the Ten Commandments by himself, to allow Moses more involvement in authoring other components of the law (Myre, «Caractéristiques»). Gnostics мая have developed Philonic thought in constructing their view that God is not the source of all the law (Fallon, «Law»).
See Whitacre, Polemic, 51. Cf. the contrast between Moses the servant and Christ the king of 1in Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 3.16.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 292.
Many concur that 1echoes Exod 33:20, e.g., Borgen, «Agent» 145; Boismard, Prologue, 64 (citing also Judg. 13:21–22; Isa 6); Epp, «Wisdom,» 137; Glasson, Moses, 25. Lacomara, «Deuteronomy,» 68, thinks John 1explicitly echoes Deut 34:10; Num 12:6–8, especially given John's reference to Moses in 1:17.
Greek views seem to have varied (cf., e.g., Xenophon Mem. 1.4.9; Epictetus Diatr. 1.6.19; Plutarch Isis 9, Mor. 354D; Isis 75, Mor. 381B; Chariton 1.14.1; Maximus of Tyre Oration 8.10 in Grant, Religions, 168; PGM 13.62 in Grant, Religions, 47; cf. Plutarch Isis 78, Mor. 383A; Dio Cassius frg. 1.6.3; Hippolytus Haer. 1.16); for deities' selective revelations, see, e.g., Callimachus Hymns 2.9–10 (cf. Acts 10:41); for the danger of seeing them, e.g., Callimachus Hymns 5.98–102,111–116. Cf. some analogous ideas of God's transcendence in traditional societies (Mbiti, Religions, 64).
1QS 11.20; 2 En. 48:5; 'Abot R. Nat. 2, 39 A; Sipra VDDen. pq. 22.214.171.124–3; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 16:13; Tg. Neof. on Exod 33:23; Tg. Onq. on Exod 33:20,23; see further under «Vision of God» in our introduction. This could apply even despite partial throne revelations (1 En. 14:19,21).
Rissi, «Word,» 401, thinks John 1"is directed against» those who claim «another and direct access to God» besides Jesus. See in more detail DeConick, Mystics, though she focuses on the Thomas tradition.
Names 7; Creation 69; Spec. Laws 1.47; 2.165; see further Hagner, «Vision,» 82–84; Isaacs, Spirit, 30; Lee, Thought, 17; citing Cherubim 101; Names 2; Rewards 40 as direct parallels, and close parallels in Dreams 1.67; Unchangeable 56; Alleg. Interp. 2.36; Names 9–10; Rewards 44.
Sib. Or. 3.12 (αόρατος), 17 (probably pre-Christian); frg. 1, lines 8–11 (date unclear).
Ag. Ap. 2.191.
Also, e.g., Rom 1:20; 1Tim 1:17; Aristobulus frg. 4 (second century B.C.E., in Eusebius Praep. ev. 13.13.5, in OTP 2:840); Orphica long version 11–12 (OTP 2:799); a line attributed to Euripides but possibly from a Jewish work in Clement of Alexandria (OTP 2:828, in «Fragments of Pseudo-Greek Poets,» third to second century B.C.E., intr. and trans. H. Attridge, 2:821–30); T. Ab. 16:4A. Cf. the danger of beholding death in T. Ab. 17:9–18:1A; 13:15–14(cf. the Greek Medusa?).
L.A.B. 11:14; cf. Sipra VDDen. pq. 126.96.36.199; some believed Moses ascended to heaven to receive Torah and there beheld God (Martyn, History, 103; cf. comment on 3:13). For Philo, Moses saw because he went beyond mortal vision (Names 8) and because he sought a revelation of God (Spec. Laws 1.41; cf. John 14:8). One could see God in some sense yet remain alive (Gen 32:30; Ascen. Isa. 3:8–10), or in some traditions be spared temporarily by God's mercy (Gen. Rab. 65:10; cf. Callimachus Hymns 6.59). Hanson, «Midrash,» thinks that Paul expounded as if Moses saw the preexistent Christ.
Sipre Deut. 357.19.1; b. Ber. 7a; Meg. 19b. The rabbis мая have had reason to polemicize here as well if some Diaspora Jews implied that Moses' vision of God divinized him (cf. Van der Horst, «Vision»), as in some Greek traditions of visionary divinization (see on divinization, above; wrongly viewed as better background for 1 John 3by Bousset as reported in Howard, Gospel, 163; Boman, «Thought-Forms,» 22).
Ascen. Isa. 3:8–10. Knibb and many others think this part is pre-Christian, which is possible; the revelations of Isaiah (ch. 6) and Ezekiel were also appropriated by Jewish visionaries in revelations of God's throne; later rabbis seem to have polemicized against this Isaiah tradition (b. Yebam. 49b).
Cf. 1 En. 90:35; 'Abot R. Nat. 1A; Sifra Behuq. pq. 3.263.1.5. The righteous deceased could also see God's face (פני אל, CIJ 1:452, §634, an inscription from Italy; [Ε]ικ[ων] ενορώ[ντος] θεου, CIJ 1:509, §696, from Thessaly; Sipra VDDen. pq. 188.8.131.52; Sipre Deut. 357.19.1).
See Carson, Sovereignty, 156.
E.g., Potterie, «Finale»; Devillers, «Exégèse.»
For the double meaning «guide» and «narrate,» see Robert, «Mot»; idem, «Précédent,» citing Plato Rep. 474BC for the same double sense.
The term probably alludes to Sir 43:31: «Who has seen (τις εόρακεν) him [i.e. God] and can fully make him known (εκδιηγήσεται)?» (Epp, «Wisdom,» 138). Cf. Epictetus Diatr. 1.6.19, where humanity not only observes God and his acts but must be an εξηγητής of them. The εξηγητής was a Roman provincial administrative office (e.g., P.Ry1. 119.1; P.Oxy. 1025.3) referring to an «explicator» or «adviser» (Lewis, Life, 186).
Cf. Moloney, «Bosom,» 68, who suggests this means that John was «turned towards the Father (in love and obedience throughout the whole of his historical presence among men and women).»
E.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 2:1. A Babylonian Amora could exegete so as to describe the sanetuary as the earth's bosom (Pesiq. Rab. 12:10).
Thus God holds a Torah scroll to his bosom in Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 2:1; an early Tanna (early second century C.E.) declared that Torah lay in God's bosom 974 generations before the world was created (Harvey, «Torah,» 1236; Epp, «Wisdom,» 138; Dodd, Interpretation, 86; and Hofius, «Schoss,» all citing 'Abot R. Nat. 31).
E.g., Euripides Bacch. 96–100, 203, 286–287. But Jesus remains in God's bosom rather than being born from it, and the image (cf. 13:23) is closer to a son being held tight to a father's chest (Luke 15:20; cf. Tob 11:9; Appian R.H. 2.5.3); Dionysus is a deified mortal, whereas Jesus is deity who became flesh.
E.g., Jub. 23(Jacob on his grandfather Abraham's bosom); Juvenal Sat. 2.120 (bride on new husband's).
Cf. T. Ab. 20.Ί4Α (the σκηναί [abodes] of Isaac and Jacob are εν τω κόλπω αυτού in paradise). As D. J. Harrington («Abraham Traditions,» 171) points out, the parallel between Γ. Ab. 20 and Jub. 23"is purely verba1.»
Lataire, «Lap» ; for growing up in a palace as being reared in royal laps (κόλποις), see Menander Rhetor 2.1–2, 371.18–20. The long history of images of divine kings in deities' bosoms (Kügler, «Sohn») probably reflects a particular application of this broader image. «Father» is a divine title in some Greek sources (e.g., Aeschylus Supp1. 139) and many Jewish sources (see Keener, Matthew, 216–18) but often retains its original metaphoric significance.
Du Plessis, «Only Begotten,'» 28; cf. Moloney, «Bosom,» 68. John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 15 took the image as one of equality (no one else dared be in the Father's bosom), but interpreters have usually emphasized this image as an anthropomorphic metaphor for intimacy (Luther, 1st Sermon on John 1) and sharing of secrets (Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 3.17.2; Calvin, John, 1:55; see comment on John 15:13–15).
E.g., Stevens, Theology, 108; Haenchen, John, 1:121; Letis, «Influences.» Boismard, Prologue, 66, favors a still less attested reading: «only begotten» without «Son» or «God» (so Tatian, Origen once, Epiphanius, Cyril of Jerusalem, etc.)
See Harris, Jesus as God, 73–103, esp. 74–83; Bernard, John, 1:31–32; Vellanickal, Sonship, 129.
Ross, «Titles»; cf. Metzger, Commentary, 198; Du Plessis, «Only Begotten,'» 27; Michaels, John, 9.
Westcott, John, 32.
Ross, «Titles,» 281.
Cf. Barrett, John, 169. An inclusio surrounding a proem appears in a widely read Greek classic, Homer Od. 1.1–10, where 1.1–2 and 1.10 invoke the Muse to tell the story while 1.2–9 summarizes the whole book's plot. Repetition on a smaller syntactic level was also a part of good style Cicero Or. Brut. 39.135).
Chow, «Applications.» Shock value offered one means for orators to hold attention (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 24).
See also Metzger, Commentary 198.
Both readings have wide geographical distribution, although «Son» is wider (perhaps because it became popular as the easier reading before most extant versions were made). Church fathers line up on both sides (sometimes the same writer on both sides), but because Jesus is elsewhere called μονογενής υιός, it is only their θεός reading that cannot be explained by transference from other texts.
Longenecker, Christology, 137; cf. Michaels, John, 9.
See Falconer, «Prologue,» 233