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11. Observations on God’s Agent and Agency in John’s Gospel Chapters 5–10: Agency and the Quest for the HistoricalJesus

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Chapter Summary

The Gospel of John is the outcome of expository activity. The most important components are the life of Jesus and Scriptures, transmitted as traditions and subject to applications and other forms of interpretation. Thus a dynamic process was at work so that the metaphor of "biology" seems more adequate than the metaphor of "anatomy" that has been used. The Jewish understanding of the concept of agent/agency is broader than just that of actual sending of an emissary. This chapter presupposes that John uses forms, methods, and traditions which are independent of other written Gospels, but which are in part traditions that are used in one or more of the other three Gospels. Some methods, structures, and elements of traditions and ideas present in letters of Paul are also relevant. The chapter concentrates on John 5:19-30 which has the idea of commissioning and role of agency within family law as background.

Keywords: God's agent; gospel of John; historical Jesus; idea of commissioning; letters of Paul; Scriptures



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