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Gloria in Profundis: Comparing the Glory of Moses in Sirach to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel

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AbstractThe glory of Jesus is a leitmotif of the Fourth Gospel and probably reflects both the Shekinah “glory” of Israel’s God revealed in Jesus as well as honor attributed to Jesus by John. The Jewish wisdom teacher Ben Sira also employs glorification language frequently and carefully in Sirach. Bringing these two texts into conversation illuminates the peculiar and unique ways in which John portrayed the identity of Jesus.In Sirach 45:1-5, in particular, Ben Sira praised the glory of Moses—a man beloved of God, made equal to the angels, great before his enemies, powerful in word, intrepid before kings, sanctified in faithfulness, party to the holy presence of God, and privy to the secret things of God. Given that John also had much interest in Moses comparison and typology, setting these texts side-by-side brings to the forefront the double-nature of the Fourth Gospel’s glory-Christology. On the one hand, the Johannine Jesus offered great demonstrations of power and authoritative teaching. On the other hand, he fared quite the opposite as Ben Sira’s vision of the exalted Moses, especially in John’s passion narrative where Jesus appears frail, weak, shamed, and defeated. Comparing the Moses of Sirach to the Jesus of John’s Gospel especially reveals the Evangelist’s paradoxical theology of gloria in profundis—the humble glory of God demonstrated in Jesus.

Affiliations: 1: Northeastern Seminary of Roberts Wesleyan CollegeRochester, NY 14624USAnijay.gupta@gmail.com

10.1163/18712207-12341270
/content/journals/10.1163/18712207-12341270
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/content/journals/10.1163/18712207-12341270
2014-04-10
2016-12-11

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