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III.Purpose and Historical Setting A.Purpose and Historical Setting of FG 1.Evangelism : Is FG primarily designed to win converts? a.20:30-31 seems to.

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Presentation on theme: "III.Purpose and Historical Setting A.Purpose and Historical Setting of FG 1.Evangelism : Is FG primarily designed to win converts? a.20:30-31 seems to."— Presentation transcript:

1 III.Purpose and Historical Setting A.Purpose and Historical Setting of FG 1.Evangelism : Is FG primarily designed to win converts? a.20:30-31 seems to state evangelistic purpose. 20:30-31 b.Textual uncertainty: “come to believe” or “continue believing”? c.Much in FG is unsuited to evangelism. d.20:30-31 may come from Signs Source. 2.Conflict with the Synagogue a.Jewish Christians being expelled from synagogue; persecuted; reluctant to profess openly; rethinking identity.  Council of Jamnia (c. 90) – redefined Judaism; less tolerant.  “Benediction against the Heretics” excluded Christians from syn. Benediction against the HereticsBenediction against the Heretics b.J. L. Martyn (1968): FG as “two-level drama.”  Jesus’ ministry – author’s situation.  Controversy over healing blind man on Sabbath (ch. 9).  Key is 9:22: parents refuse to give opinion about Jesus for fear that “the Jews” will expel them from synagogue (cf. v , 34). 9:22  Language is anachronistic: “the Jews;” formal decision to ban believers in Jesus.

2 A.Purpose and Historical Setting (cont.) 2.Conflict with the Synagogue (cont.) c.Other evidence of church-synagogue conflict:  FG uses “the Jews” over 70 times – usually hostile sense.  Three occurrences of aposunagogos (“to be put out of the synagogue;” 9:22; 12:42; 16:2).  References to “secret believers” (12:42; 19:38). d.FG seeks to reassure Christians in face of threats/ accusations from Jewish synagogue. 3.Concern for “secret believers,” Samaritans, and Greeks a.May be encouraging “secret believers” to come out of closet. secret believerssecret believers  Jewish authorities (12:42)  Joseph of Arimathea (19:38)  Nicodemus? (3:1; 7:50-51; 19:39) b.Special interest in Greeks and Samaritans may reflect their inclusion in Johannine community.  Samaritans (ch. 4)  Greeks (7:33-36; 12:20-22)

3 A.Purpose and Historical Setting (cont.) 4.Polemic against a sect of John the Baptist a.Evidence of a continuing sect devoted to John the Baptist, revered as Savior and heavenly Revealer (Acts 19:1-7; etc.). b.FG emphasizes John’s subordination to Jesus, never reports Jesus’ baptism by John; may be reassuring readers over against rival claims (1:7-8, 15, 19-34; 3:22-30; 5:33-36; 10:40-42). 5.Tensions with mainstream/Petrine Christianity a.Johannine community was isolated from mainstream Christianity (where Peter was central authority figure). b.FG pits Beloved Disciple over against Peter (20:2-8; etc.). c.Champions BD as sound authority for Johannine community. 6.Passing of first generation (21:18-19, 23) a.Two problems: eyewitnesses disappearing; failure of Parousia. b.Doctrine of Paraclete (ch ) answers both. 7.Anti-Gnostic polemic a.Gnostic Docetism is countered by emphasis on incarnation (1:14), reality of death (19:34), bodily resurrection (21:9-14). b.FG also contains much Gnostic-sounding material.

4 B.Relationship to Johannine Letters 1.Authorship of the letters a.Anonymous: “the Elder” (2, 3 John). b.Vocabulary and themes similar to FG– could be same author. c.Differences in style and theology – probably a different author in same community/tradition; maybe a disciple of Evangelist; knows FG intimately. 2.Setting of the letters a.Somewhat later than FG. b.Problem is heresy resulting in schism. c.Gnostic false teaching:  Docetism – denial of true humanity of Christ.  Overly “realized eschatology” – claim full salvation already now.  Libertinism – claim sinlessness but practice immorality. d.Elder emphasizes: real incarnation, atoning death, future eschatology, sacraments, and keeping commandments (esp. love). e.Schismatics developed into Gnostic Christianity. f.Elder’s group was absorbed into mainstream Christianity.

5 C.History of Johannine Community (Culpepper, pp ) 1.Origins – Group formed around BD in Judea. 2.Early period within synagogue a.Moved to Antioch/Syria – still in synagogue. b.Preached Jesus as fulfillment of messianic hopes. c.Used “signs” to impress Jews. d.Signs source developed into “Signs Gospel.” 3.Middle period: formation of Johannine Community a.Exclusion from synagogue. b.Secret believers remain in synagogue. c.Others form community around Beloved Disciple. d.Preaching on words/deeds of Jesus shapes tradition. e.Dualistic language reflects division from unbelievers. f.Persecution forces move to Ephesus. g.Basic FG written in response.

6 C.History of Johannine Community – cont. 4. Middle period: second generation a.Death of BD prompts reflection on Paraclete. b.Egalitarian structure. c.Concern for unity and love within community. d.Rival claims from Petrine churches. 5.Late period: schism a.Emergence of heretical, Gnostic group. b.Led to schism. c.1 & 2 John warn against heresy. d.Jn. 1:1-18; 6:51-58; ch. 21; references to BD added. e.Community is wrecked by dissension. f.Elder’s group absorbed into mainstream Christianity. g.Opponents moved into Gnostic groups.

7 John 20: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe b that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe b that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. b Other ancient authorities read may continue to believe.

8 “Benediction against the Heretics” And for apostates let there be no hope; and may the insolent kingdom be quickly uprooted, in our days. And may the Nazarenes and the heretics perish quickly; and may they be erased from the Book of Life; and may they not be inscribed with the righteous. Blessed art thou, Lord, who humblest the insolent. (Culpepper, The Gospel and Letters of John, p. 44)

9 John 9:22 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.

10 “Secret Believers” 12:42 Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body.


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