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Background and Christology of John's Gospel: Selected Motifs

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Chapter Summary

The value of the Fourth Gospel rests ultimately in its recognition by Christians from the earliest time as a prophetic revelation, an inspired account of Jesus' acts and teachings. But it may be clarified and further defined by some attention to several historical and literary questions. Who is the Evangelist? Did he (1) compose the Gospel de novo, (2) collect and arrange preformed materials or, taking a middle way, (3) combine traditions and personal experiences to serve his own themes and purposes? Did he intend to mediate traditions of our Lord's earthly ministry or to use that ministry only as a frame to enclose teachings of the exalted Christ through the Spirit? The major contribution to New Testament Christology of John vis-à-vis the other Gospels is apparently to bring to the surface perspectives on Jesus' person that in the Synoptics are only implicit or left for the reader to infer.

Keywords: Christology; Evangelist; Gospel of John; Jesus



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