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The Believing Jews, Abraham and the Devil (8:31–59)

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author claims that Jesus' harsh words should be read in light of both their narrative context in John and dualistic views that also appeared in other earlier or contemporary Jewish writings. The close reading of what the Johannine Jesus says of the believing Jews, Abraham and the devil reinforces the results of the author's earlier analyses and suggests that the Johannine writer tries to cement the break between the Johannine Christians and other Jews by presenting the Jews as the children of the devil. The dualistic imagery serves the strivings of the Johannine community to clearer self-understanding and separation from Jews who did not share their views on Jesus. The author emphasizes that a symbolic universe should not be taken as a direct reflection of John's social reality in a sense that there were no longer contacts between the Jews and the Johannine group.

Keywords: Abraham; devil; dualistic imagery; Jews; Johannine Christians; symbolic universe



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