The earthly life of Jesus, though humble, was the scene in which the glory and mercy of God were displayed.
C. K. Barrett, Gospel of John: 150.
I cracked open Bultmann’s famous commentary on John this evening to see what he had to say in regards to John’s Prologue (1.1-18). I was impressed with his eye for detail, his understanding of the literary character of the Prologue, and his desire to get at the meaning of what the evangelist said. We see Bultmann’s Formgeschichte is full effect, evidenced by his exegesis on the text of 1.1-18. But what struck me was a statement he makes after a brief analysis of the structure of the Prologue, conceding that behind the Prologue is a “source document to which the Evangelist has added his own comments” (Bultmann, 16). Bultmann confesses:
It goes without saying that the exegesis must expound the complete text, the critical analysis is the servant of this exposition.
Did you hear that? Although a card-carrying form critic, Bultmann cares about the final form of the text.
1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2 οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 3 πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· 5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν. 6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης· 7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν διʼ αὐτοῦ. 8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλʼ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός. 9 ῏Ην τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον. 10 ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω. 11 εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθεν, καὶ οἱ ἴδιοι αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον. 12 ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, 13 οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλʼ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν. 14 Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας. 15 Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων· οὗτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον· ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν. 16 ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος· 17 ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο. 18 Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο.
The Gospel of John 1.1–18
Another interesting forthcoming book, this time from Cambridge University Press: Engaging with C. H. Dodd on the Gospel of John: Sixty Years of Tradition and Interpretation.
Here is the table of contents:
1. The semeiotics of history: C. H. Dodd on the origins and character of the Fourth Gospel Tom Thatcher
Part I. Approaching the Problem: Reflections on Dodd’s Context and Method:
2. C. H. Dodd as a precursor to narrative criticism R. Alan Culpepper
3. Progress and paradox: C. H. Dodd and Rudolf Bultmann on history, the Jesus tradition, and the Fourth Gospel Craig R. Koester
4. Symbolism in John’s Gospel: an evaluation of Dodd’s contribution Jan van der Watt
5. C. H. Dodd on John 13:16 (and 15:20): St John’s knowledge of Matthew revisited David Godecharle and Gilbert Van Belle
6. John and the rabbis revisited Catrin H. Williams
7. Characters who count: the case of Nicodemus Jaime Clark-Soles
Part II. History and Tradition in the Fourth Gospel:
8. C. H. Dodd, the historical Jesus, and realized eschatology Urban C. von Wahlde
9. Historical tradition(s) and/or Johannine redaction? A reflection on the threefold repetition of Pilate’s statement ‘I find no guilt in him’ (John 18:38b
19:4, 6) Hellen Mardaga
10. Incidents dispersed in the synoptics and cohering in John: Dodd, Brown, and Johannine historicity Paul N. Anderson
11. Reflections on a footnote John Ashton
12. The anointing in John 12:1–8: a tale of two hypotheses Wendy E. S. North
13. Eucharist and Passover: the two ‘loci’ of the liturgical commemoration of the Last Supper in the early Church Michael Theobald
Part III. Future Directions:
14. The Fourth Gospel and the founder of Christianity: the place of historical tradition in the work of C. H. Dodd John Painter.
The theological significance of Deuteronomy can scarcely be overestimated. Inasmuch as this book offers the most systematic presentation of theological truth in the entire Old Testament, we may compare its place to that of Romans in the New Testament. Moreover, since Deuteronomy reviews so much of Israel’s historical experience of God’s grace as recounted in Genesis through Numbers, a comparison with the gospel of John may be even more appropriate. Just as John wrote his gospel after several decades of reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus, so Moses preached the sermons in Deuteronomy after almost four decades of reflection on the significance of the Exodus and God’s covenant with Israel. Thus, like the gospel of John, the book of Deuteronomy functions as a theological manifesto, calling on Israel to respond to God’s grace with unreserved loyalty and love.
(NIVAC: Deuteronomy, 25)
῏Ησαν δὲ Ἕλληνές τινες ἐκ τῶν ἀναβαινόντων ἵνα προσκυνήσωσιν ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ· οὗτοι οὖν προσῆλθον Φιλίππῳ τῷ ἀπὸ Βηθσαϊδὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἠρώτων αὐτὸν λέγοντες· κύριε, θέλομεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἰδεῖν. ἔρχεται ὁ Φίλιππος καὶ λέγει τῷ Ἀνδρέᾳ, ἔρχεται Ἀνδρέας καὶ Φίλιππος καὶ λέγουσιν τῷ Ἰησοῦ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀποκρίνεται αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
I have always been fascinated with the above account in John’s Gospel. Greek God-fearers who were coming to Jerusalem were seeking to see Jesus (θέλομεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἰδεῖν). The request of the Greek worshippers prompts Jesus to declare ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Prior to this, the references to hour as the refer to Jesus in John’s Gospel speak of a future hour, i.e. Jesus’ death. (2:24; 4:21; 5:25, 28; 7:30; 8:20). After this the references change. For example: ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἦλθεν αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα…” (13:1); “ἰδοὺ ἔρχεται ὥρα καὶ ἐλήλυθεν…” (16:32); “πάτερ, ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα…” (17:1).
Why the sudden change? It is the coming of the Gentiles that ushers in the hour of Jesus death. As Carson notes, :the approach of the Greeks is for Jesus a kind of trigger, a signal that the climactic hour has dawned (PNTC, 437). From this point forward in John’s Gospel, the focus shifts to Jesus’ final few days, and he begins to prepare his disciples for life without him by their side. Some pretty amazing things going on here.
Eedrmans was kind to send over a review copy of Frederick Bruner’s The Gospel of John: A Commentary and Gareth Cockerill’s commentary on Hebrews, F. F. Bruce’s replacement in the NICNT. I have been waiting a while for Cockerill’s contribution to Hebrews scholarship, so I cannot wait to dig into it.
Speaking of Cockerill, I have something in the works that may or may not include a giveaway, so stay tuned for that!