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'And The Word Became Flesh': When? (1993)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the issue on when the Word became flesh in the understanding of Johannine Christianity. Within the canon, John is to be read in light of the Synoptic Gospels with birth narratives, as the early church did. To Hellenistic Jews or Hellenistic Jewish-Christian converts who heard the Fourth Gospel read, John 1:14 ("the Word became flesh") and 1:33 ("the Spirit descended and remained on him") would sound like variant expressions of the same event. According to the author, there is nothing in the Fourth Gospel to lead a hearer to infer that the incarnation took place in connection with a miraculous conception as opposed to a moment in connection with the water of John's baptism. The Gospel of John, Mark's Gospel, and the Gospel of the Hebrews all locate the decisive union of the divine with the flesh in connection with the water of John's baptism.

Keywords: "the Word became flesh"; Fourth Gospel; Gospel of the Hebrews; Holy Spirit; Jesus' miraculous conception; Johannine Christianity; John 1:14; John's baptism; Mark's Gospel

10.1163/ej.9789004201712.i-204.24
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