Judges 5.2

A bit ago, David M. posted a question about Judges 5.2 on Facebook. As you know, I am currently researching a “unique” view of the death of Christ so when I read this, it immediately jumped out to me as something I could use. Judges 5.2 is set within a larger poem detailing the victory of Deborah when she was a judge in Israel. It is a very old portion of the Hebrew Bible, among the oldest some scholars believe.

The Hebrew (into English) reads,

‘For the leaders, the leaders in Israel, for the people who answered the call, bless the Lord. (REB)

While the the LXX(b) reads,

A revelation was uncovered in Israel when the people ignorantly sinned: praise the Lord!

Ἀπεκαλύφθη ἀποκάλυμμα ἐν Ἰσραήλ· ἐν τῷ ἀκουσιασθῆναι λαὸν εὐλογεῖτε Κύριον.

The key word in the LXX is:

ἀκουσιάζομαι

Going further, the word is used in Numbers 15.28 (LXX):

Hebrew Alignment1

שׁגגcommit error unintentionally (1): Nu 15:28

נדבoffer willingly (1): Judg 5:2G

Numbers 15.28 in the Hebrew (via REB English) and then in the LXX (and LS English):

and the priest will make expiation before the Lord for that person, who will then be forgiven.

….

Then the priest will make atonement for the person who inadvertently sinned and erred involuntarily before the Lord, to make atonement for him.

καὶ ἐξιλάσεται ὁ ἱερεὺς περὶ τῆς ψυχῆς τῆς ἀκουσιασθείσης καὶ ἁμαρτούσης ἀκουσίως ἔναντι Κυρίου, ἐξιλάσασθαι περὶ αὐτοῦ.

The key word, ἀκουσιάζομαι, is connected to the sin in ignorance found in Numbers 15.28 as well as the Greek words ἀκουσίως and ἀκούσιος also in Numbers 15.24-28. This section enumerates the required sacrifices for those, individual and congregation, who have committed a sin that could not be helped (either through ignorance or against their will). As I read this passage, I do not see a heavy line drawn through the different words, but rather seem them as synonyms.

Let me show you why I think they are all related, if not simply complimentary:

septuagint logos lexicon numbers 15.24-28

So, here is my thinking about Judges 5.2 LXX(b). The march to war, which required soldiers to volunteer themselves (to die), was a sin (albeit one of ignorance/against the will/necessary) because it involved the sacrifice of the person to the deity. However, because it was required, it was forgiven and rather celebrated. Because of the (self-)sacrifice of the soldiers, God awarded Israel victory. In Rome, you’d call this a devotio. In LXX Israel, you call it a revelation.

  1. Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint

Working on my #SBLAAR (2014) paper, “There and Back Again, A Jesus Tale: The Poetics of Apologetic Reversal”

The romanticized woodcut engraving of Flavius ...

The romanticized woodcut engraving of Flavius Josephus appearing in William Whiston’s translation of his works. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will propose Mark is borrowing two well-known and horrible entries into Jerusalem. First up, Mark 11.1-17:

Καὶ ὅτε ἐγγίζουσιν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰς Βηθφαγὴ καὶ Βηθανίαν πρὸς τὸ Ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν, ἀποστέλλει δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ 2 καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Ὑπάγετε εἰς τὴν κώμην τὴν κατέναντι ὑμῶν, καὶ εὐθὺς εἰσπορευόμενοι εἰς αὐτὴν εὑρήσετε πῶλον δεδεμένον ἐφʼ ὃν οὐδεὶς οὔπω ἀνθρώπων ἐκάθισεν· λύσατε αὐτὸν καὶ φέρετε. 3 καὶ ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ· Τί ποιεῖτε τοῦτο; εἴπατε ὅτι Ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ χρείαν ἔχει· καὶ εὐθὺς αὐτὸν ἀποστέλλει πάλιν ὧδε. 4 καὶ ἀπῆλθον καὶ εὗρον πῶλον δεδεμένον πρὸς θύραν ἔξω ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀμφόδου, καὶ λύουσιν αὐτόν. 5 καί τινες τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων ἔλεγον αὐτοῖς· Τί ποιεῖτε λύοντες τὸν πῶλον; 6 οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτοῖς καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· καὶ ἀφῆκαν αὐτούς. 7 καὶ φέρουσιν τὸν πῶλον πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, καὶ ἐπιβάλλουσιν αὐτῷ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐπʼ αὐτόν. 8 καὶ πολλοὶ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν. 9 καὶ οἱ προάγοντες καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον· Ὡσαννά· Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου· 10 Εὐλογημένη ἡ ἐρχομένη βασιλεία τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Δαυίδ· Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις.

11 Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντα ὀψὲ ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα.

12 Καὶ τῇ ἐπαύριον ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Βηθανίας ἐπείνασεν. 13 καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔχουσαν φύλλα ἦλθεν εἰ ἄρα τι εὑρήσει ἐν αὐτῇ, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐπʼ αὐτὴν οὐδὲν εὗρεν εἰ μὴ φύλλα, ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς οὐκ ἦν σύκων. 14 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῇ· Μηκέτι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐκ σοῦ μηδεὶς καρπὸν φάγοι. καὶ ἤκουον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

15 Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα. καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν ἤρξατο ἐκβάλλειν τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ τοὺς ἀγοράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, καὶ τὰς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν καὶ τὰς καθέδρας τῶν πωλούντων τὰς περιστερὰς κατέστρεψεν 16 καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν ἵνα τις διενέγκῃ σκεῦος διὰ τοῦ ἱεροῦ, 17 καὶ ἐδίδασκεν καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· Οὐ γέγραπται ὅτι Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν; ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν.

Thanks to Rick from Logos and an experimental feature, I got a jumpstart. This is what the search for literary connections looks like:

Dataset Canonical Reference Relationship Noncanonical Reference
Josephus Mark 11:1 Phrase Wars 2.262
Josephus Mark 11:1 Remove Wars 2.261–263
Josephus Mark 11:1 Remove Ant 20.169–170
Josephus Mark 11:1 Topical Ant 20.169
Josephus Mark 11:1 Remove Life 269
Josephus Mark 11:2 Remove Wars 2.261–263
Nag Hammadi Codices Mark 11:8 Allusion NHC II 2, 39:29–NHC II 2, 40:2
Apostolic Fathers Mark 11:9 Topical Did 12.1
Apostolic Fathers Mark 11:9 Echo Did 10.6
Apostolic Fathers Mark 11:9 Remove Barn 6.4
Josephus Mark 11:9 Remove Wars 1.673
Josephus Mark 11:9 Remove Ant 7.40–41
Nag Hammadi Codices Mark 11:9 Allusion NHC II 2, 39:29–NHC II 2, 40:2
NT Apocrypha Mark 11:9 Remove APt 24
Dead Sea Scrolls Sectarian Material Mark 11:10 Topical 4Q174
NT Apocrypha Mark 11:10 Remove Acts Pil. 1
Josephus Mark 11:11 Topical Ant 18.90
Josephus Mark 11:11 Topical Ant 15.405

 

Mark came before some of the material here, so you have to mark that out…mark that out, I slay me… I am looking at Wars in particular.

So, we come up with at least one section, the entry into Jerusalem by the Egyptian. This is found in BJ 2.261-263:

τούτοις Φῆλιξ, ἐδόκει γὰρ ἀποστάσεως εἶναι καταβολή, πέμψας ἱππεῖς καὶ πεζοὺς ὁπλίτας πολὺ πλῆθος διέφθειρεν. Μείζονι δὲ τούτου πληγῇ Ἰουδαίους ἐκάκωσεν ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ψευδοπροφήτης· παραγενόμενος γὰρ εἰς τὴν χώραν ἄνθρωπος γόης καὶπροφήτου πίστιν ἐπιθεὶς ἑαυτῷ περὶ τρισμυρίους μὲν ἀθροίζει τῶν ἠπατημένων, περιαγαγὼν δὲ αὐτοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἐρημίας εἰς τὸ ἐλαιῶνκαλούμενον ὄρος ἐκεῖθεν οἷός τε ἦν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα παρελθεῖν βιάζεσθαι καὶ κρατήσας τῆς τε Ῥωμαϊκῆς φρουρᾶς καὶ τοῦ δήμου τυραννεῖνχρώμενος τοῖς συνεισπεσοῦσιν δορυφόροις. φθάνει δ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν ὁρμὴν Φῆλιξ ὑπαντήσας μετὰ τῶν Ῥωμαϊκῶν ὁπλιτῶν, καὶ πᾶς ὁ δῆμοςσυνεφήψατο τῆς ἀμύνης, ὥστε συμβολῆς γενομένης τὸν μὲν Αἰγύπτιον φυγεῖν μετ’ ὀλίγων, διαφθαρῆναι δὲ καὶ ζωγρηθῆναι πλείστους τῶνσὺν αὐτῷ, τὸ δὲ λοιπὸν πλῆθος σκεδασθὲν ἐπὶ τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστον διαλαθεῖν.

There are common points. Both start at the Mount of Olives. Both have friends with them. For Jesus, they are his disciples. For the Egyptian, guards. There is a multitude of people as well.

If we go further, we find a connection between Mark 11.15–17 and the siege of the Temple, with the entry by my favorite baddie, Simon bar Giora (4.570-584).

I am attracted to the Egyptian story as a literary source because of Acts 21.38–39. I think there is something in Luke, perhaps calling attention to Mark’s usage.

So, why is Mark using two literary sources, but reversed, to present the story of Jesus’s entry? Because it is apologetic. Mark does not want Jesus seen as the conquering tyrant. He wants to show how peaceful Jesus was, so he mimics (borrows) the language of Josephus so that his audience can get a sense his intent.

Jesus does not come to conquer Jerusalem. /a/Christians are not traitors or treasonous.

One of my “book notes” for Religious Studies Review is not published at Wiley Online Library

You can find it here:

A Common Written Greek Source for Mark AND Thomas. By John Horman. Studies in Christianity and Judaism 20. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2011. Pp. viii + 256. Cloth, $85.00. – Watts – 2014 – Religious Studies Review – Wiley Online Library.

I can’t reproduce it yet, but… I found the concept fascinating but deeply flawed. Horman (an independent researcher, which is awesome) has a great theory, but in the end, it is a theory biased on the need to make Thomas more canonical than the other Gospels. I just don’t see it. One thing Horman does (and Francis Watson does) is to de-gnostic-fy Thomas, which is a welcomed feature.

did jesus kill himself (or, maybe, have himself killed)?

The Death of Jesus

The Death of Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jerad and Amanda Miller, the two who ambushed and killed two on-duty (and on lunch) police officers over the weekend are said to have had a death wish. I think this is abundantly clear. But, so do some martyrs (suicide bombers are on an entirely different scale). If you look at the letters of Ignatius of Antioch, you will get the real sense that man desired nothing more than to die.

But, what about Jesus? Famously, some liberal theologians suggest Jesus only submitted to the cross after his example was wasted on the folk. Or, some suggest he was the first martyr. Neither of this, I think, does justice to what I am going to propose in my new dissertation.

If we allow for the moment that devotio means, in its simplest form, “self-sacrifice,” then we can allow for an exploration of suicide as a form of devotio even if the proper term is not used.[1] With this in mind, we turn to two authors, one making use of the other. Jack Miles, in his seminal work, Christ, a Crisis in the Life of God, posits the death of Jesus as a suicide. In his story, God has abandoned Israel and as such, remembers that he must honor his promise. To do so, God becomes human in the person of Christ.[2] Miles uses Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzat’s work, “Le suicide du Christ: Une theologie,” to buffer his work. In this work, Dauzet calls attention to the text, specifically the Gospel of John, and the early interpretation to show that the death of Jesus as a suicide is allowable. But, he goes further. Dauzet states, “The idea of the suicide of Christ will have been, before all else, a Christian if not indeed a Christological idea.”[3]

What if the death of Jesus was by his own choosing? I don’t mean the “Jesus loved us this much he died for us.” No, I mean, Jesus said, “The only way to renew this covenant and force God to act is to for me to die. I have to die.” In working on this, I am left to focus on suicides today as well as those who have themselves killed (death by cop). I am also worried that this line of thinking is making me a more conservative theologian (or theology guy). I mean, it is getting brutal in my head. I also contend that if Jesus did in fact seek to kill himself in such a manner then it is possible, almost required, that the earliest Christology was pretty high, that Paul didn’t invent as much theology as we’d like to think, among other things I’m not ready to put into words yet.


[1] The term “suicide” is a relatively new concept; the idea of a taking one’s life for issues not related to honor, or any of the other ancient reasons, is even newer. However, I believe the anachronistic term is best and will be used periodically given it’s emotional charge and his direct connotation of free will.

[2] Jack Miles, Christ, A Crisis in the Life of God. (Vintage, 2002).

[3] Miles, Christ, A Crisis in the Life of God,, 164–67.See, Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzet, Le suicide du Christ: Une theologie (Perspectives critiques), (Presses universitaires de France, 1998).

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The Use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel, Part 3 (former prospectus)

English: beginning of the Gospel of John

English: beginning of the Gospel of John (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am changing my dissertation focus from a literary analysis of the Fourth Gospel’s use of Deuteronomy to something else. Therefore, I am posting what I have already written. I’ll upload it on Academia.edu later. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here.

3.         Goal

3.1       Statement of Purpose

As noted above, Deuteronomy is recognized by scholars as the book most used by Jewish exegetes of the Second Temple Period. Equally noted is the lack of pointed scholarship investigating the use of Deuteronomy by the Fourth Gospel. While there are studies meant to engage the Mosaic role of Jesus, drawn from Deuteronomy 18, in the Fourth Gospel, along with Christology, monotheism and a few other Deuteronomic artifacts are easily accessible, there is no monograph examining the role Deuteronomy as a whole plays in the Fourth Gospel. We have such studies on various other books, such as Ezekiel, in John, but nothing as of yet for Deuteronomy, clearly the exegetical muse of the cognitive environment of the Second Temple authors. This is a problem I propose to solve.

I propose the author of the Fourth Gospel used Deuteronomy with a discoverable intention. While we cannot fully know the author’s mind, we can attempt to place the author of the Fourth Gospel next to similar authors in hopes of narrowing in on the author’s intention. The goal of this work is first to examine and catalogue the myriad ways the Evangelist may have used Deuteronomy as an intertext and then to propose a literary connection between the two books, a connection I propose is a stark difference between the use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel and that of all of the other literary sources John employs to fashion his Gospel. The Fourth Gospel does not merely use Deuteronomy to validate messianic claims or other theological tenants, but develops a distinctive interpretative instantiation of Deuteronomy so that the fifth book of Moses is the key to the Fourth Gospel. To that end, I will examine the Johannine use of Deuteronomy on three levels. The first will examine unique features, such as word choice and use of unique stylistic features. The second will examine both books for a shared literary imagery including theological constructs. The third will examine the designs of both books, looking for a pattern to be used by and then argue for its use in the Fourth Gospel. This third level, rightly falling after the other two, will make use of the ground work laid in the previous, to suggest John is intimately familiar with Deuteronomy and, like other Jewish exegetes, uses the end of the Pentateuch to buttress his own work.

Research will focus on deciphering the uses of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel. I will examine proposed quotations and allusions with the intention of identifying a Johannine knowledge, use, and reliance upon the fifth book of Moses. The questions here will relate to the use of Deuteronomy as opposed to the use of other books likely available to the author of the Gospel. A deeper petition will seek to examine an overarching use of Deuteronomy, for such things as structure. While it is rather easy to accept a Johannine motivation for using Deuteronomy 18 to present Jesus and other use of theological motifs, the better question is whether or not the entirety of Deuteronomy may serve as a literary infrastructure. I will suggest it does. Finally, the question of inherent authority transferred to John (and thus John’s subjects) by Deuteronomy will be explored.

3.2       Value of Research

The value of the study will be manifold. First, I will work within current models of literary imitation in the New Testament to refine a methodology and then use this methodology in investigating the hypertext for quotations and allusions to the hypotext. Second, this will serve as an explanative catalogue for quotations and allusions, providing an interpretative piece to the methodology. Finally, this work will serve to propose an addition to John’s intention in that the Evangelist’s use of Deuteronomy is significant in understanding the intention of the author’s presentation of his narrative in a way not met by the use of other sources. Simply, Deuteronomy is John’s essential shape whereby he molds the Jesus plot.

3.3       Scope of Work

This study is divided into 2 parts. In the following chapter I will examine literary theory of quotations, allusions, and echoes as well as literary designs. In the Greco-Roman world the use of previous texts as a form of rhetorical practice is named mimesis or imitatio. We have no such well-ordered designation in the Jewish world of literary traditions, although it is clear this happened.[1] The use of mimesis in Gospel criticism began with Thomas Brodie’s work on the Fourth Gospel and is currently the tool of choice for those researching the literary sources of the Gospel of Mark.[2]  It will be used here not so much as to provide for the literary sources, but for the framing quality of the Fourth Gospel as well as for the “appeal to emotion” often employed by ancient writers through this process. To follow this reasoning, in chapter 3 I will develop a more complete methodology for exploring allusions and literary designs. This methodology will work with current models while allowing for a refined process to conservatively decipher John’s use of Deuteronomy.

In Part II, I will begin by surveying the uses of Deuteronomy by other exegetes of the Second Temple Period, focusing on Deuteronomy in rewritten Scripture and the use of Deuteronomy in narratives. As Deuteronomy features heavily in Second Temple Judaism — including mainstream and the highly sectarian Judaisms — I will first posit a certain interpretative must for any exegete of the time to use Deuteronomy and then give examples of how exegetes not only employed Deuteronomy, but crafted and re-crafted it to serve a plethora of needs in manifold communities. Finally, I will closely examine the reception of Deuteronomy by Second Temple exegetes and the intentional transference of authority, e.g., validation, through their use of quotes, allusions, and literary structures drawn from fifth book of Moses in their writings.

In chapter 5 I will explore, catalogue and offer a small measure of interpretative guidance to possible quotations and allusions, focusing first on items from the Greek Deuteronomy, such as neologisms, we might expect to find in the hypertext as clues to the use of the hypotext. Much of the groundwork for this chapter is already well laid by Hans Hübner. I work with the citations he has offered and propose several more while attempting to offer a more complete literary design as to the author ultimate purpose. The following chapter will focus on comparing the structure of Deuteronomy and John and looking for overall narrative frameworks the Evangelist may have borrowed from the Deuteronomist. The discoveries made in this chapter along with shared theology will feature heavily in determining these connections.

Finally, chapter 7 will serve as the conclusion for this study. As the proposal of this work is to discover the use of ­Deuteronomy by the Evangelist, the final chapter will seek to solidify my insistence on an intimate use of Deuteronomy to provide for something more than validation, but authorization. I will first analyze and compare the two discourses, using the methodology established in the previous chapter. Then, I will propose a function of the discourses focusing instead on its use for authorial weight rather than on a message intended for the audience, natural or implied. Finally, this chapter will explore the role of Deuteronomy in final chapters of the Fourth Gospel and how it aids in understanding Gospel and its author.

3.4 Conclusion

The present study will attempt to present at length the case for a considerable useage between Deuteronomy and the Fourth Gospel that goes beyond allusions or scriptural citations. Rather, the intent of this work is to show the author of the Fourth Gospel to have used Deuteronomy to present not only Jesus in a particular view, but more importantly, this study will show the author hoped to present not only his work but himself as well in a particular light and in keeping with the tradition of Deuteronomic exegesis in Second Temple Judaism.


[1] For instance, the use of Isaiah and Exodus in the Wisdom of Solomon could certainly fit the Roman restrictions placed on mimesis. A later chapter is devoted to the exploration of the Jewish preservation of previous texts.

[2] For Brodie’s work, see The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary (Oxford University Press, 1997); The Quest for the Origin of John’s Gospel: A Source-Oriented Approach (Oxford University Press, 1993). For recent studies on the use of mimesis in the Gospel of Mark see Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark (Yale University Press, 2000); Two Shipwrecked Gospels: The Logoi of Jesus and Papias’s Exposition of Logia About the Lord (Early Christianity and Its Literature) (Brill, 2012); Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?: Four Cases from the Acts of the Apostles (Yale University Press, 2003); Adam Winn, Mark and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative: Considering the Practice of Greco-Roman Imitation in the Search for Markan Source Material (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Publications, 2010); and Joel L. Watts, Mimetic Criticism and the Gospel of Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2013).

 

 

 

 

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The Use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel, Part 2 (former prospectus)

Bible de Gutenberg Deuteronomy 6:16-7:16

Bible de Gutenberg Deuteronomy 6:16-7:16 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am changing my dissertation focus from a literary analysis of the Fourth Gospel’s use of Deuteronomy to something else. Therefore, I am posting what I have already written. I’ll upload it on Academia.edu later. Part 1 is here.

  1. Overview of research on the Fourth Gospel’s use of Deuteronomy

Craig Keener calls Deuteronomy “the most popular book among early Jewish interpreters.”[1] Further, he notes the large number of Deuteronomic allusions, least of which are the Mosiac allusions. There are several monographs worth noting regarding Deuteronomy’s use in the New Testament. The first is David Lincicum’s work on Paul and Deuteronomy.[2] Lincicum’s labor translates well to our purposes in this work due to his allowance not only of a heavy influence of Deuteronomy on Paul, but so too the picture of the ideal Jewish interpreter of Deuteronomy. Brandon Crowe sees a Deuteronomic influence on Matthew’s Christology.[3] David Allen has written a work exploring the use of a refiguring of Deuteronomy by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.[4] There is also a monograph on seeing the end of Deuteronomy in Paul’s epistles.[5] Following these is the recent monograph co-edited by Maarten J. J. Menken and Steve Moyise exploring Deuteronomic quotations and allusions in each of the New Testament books.[6]

Given the use of Deuteronomy by New Testament writers, one would hope for some attention given in exploring Deuteronomy and the Fourth Gospel. However, as of yet, there are no distinctive monographs devoted to solely examining the role Deuteronomy plays in the Fourth Gospel. There are, however, monographs examining the role other Old Testament books play in John’s work. Severino Pancaro has written in regards to the Law in the Fourth Gospel, although this work is primarily meant to examine Torah legalities in relation to Jesus, his claims, and the relationship to the Jews.[7] Gary T. Manning, Jr likewise examines Ezekiel’s role.[8] As already discussed, Daly-Denton has written about the reception of the Psalms in John’s Gospel while Andrew C. Brunson follows this somewhat and has examined a specific psalm, 118, as employed by the Evangelist.[9] Young has produced an article on Isaiah’s relationship to the Fourth Gospel.[10] There is even a monograph on John’s flirtation with the Song of Solomon.[11]

1.1.         Quotations

If we were to suggest, unlike Isaiah or the Psalms, direct quotations of the fifth book of Moses by John, we would find ourselves walking in darkness. There are no clearly easily rescued direct quotations in John’s Gospel of the book that is the air of the New Testament writers’ cognitive environment.[12] Michael Labahn, however, tempers this claim only slightly by suggesting John 8:17, with its introductory formula of καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ δὲ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ γέγραπται may act as a quotation of Deuteronomy.[13] He protests regarding the exclusion of a Deuteronomic source here simply because it does not contain enough verbal connections, citing for this defense Deuteronomy 17:15, 19:15 and Numbers 35:30.[14] What we see, I would contend, is not a direct quotation, but perhaps a quotation alluding to a series of passages. Likewise is Labahn’s suggestion of the quotation by the Fourth Evangelist of Deuteronomy 6:4 as found in John 5:44 and 8:54.

1.2.         Allusions

In regards to allusions, Labahn begins by defining allusions rather loosely — “if they are not marked like quotations by some kind of quotation formula or by a recognizable verbal identity.”[15] He cites John 5:5 as using Deuteronomy 2:14.[16] This is based on the use of time.[17] He also sees an allusion in John 5:21 to Deuteronomy 32:39 and Deuteronomy 4:12 in John 5:37.[18] This latter allusion provides something more introspective, however, as following Michael Theobald, Labahn sees a Johannine response to the Deuteronomic message.[19] This response, then, is used in favor of Jesus’s arguments with the Jewish leaders.

Following Labahn’s allowance for a rather loose definition of allusion, we may allow for Minear’s insistence connecting Deuteronomy 33:12 with the identification of the disciple writing the work based on the appellate ἀγαπάω.[20] The connection between the disciple in the Fourth Gospel and the legends surrounding the patriarch Benjamin is not difficult to see. Several times, the unnamed disciple whom tradition tells us is a young man named John is said to be the one Jesus loved. Further, Minear is able to show a positive allusion between the promises made to Benjamin in Deuteronomy and the promises thought to be made to the disciple in final chapter of the Fourth Gospel.[21]

Beyond Labahn’s singular devoted essay to the subject, the most vital works on examining John for quotations and allusions to Deuteronomy are found in Menken’s work on Old Testament Quotations as well as Hans Hübner’s volume, Evangelium secundum Iohannem.[22] These two works provide a textual search for connections between the two books; however, they are limited at only literary borrowing. The real measure of John’s use of Deuteronomy should not be limited to exacting measures of word choice, but expanded to include, as with the whole of the Old Testament, allusions based on theology. To that, we shall now turn.[23]
1.3.         Use of Deuteronomy in John’s theology

At first glance, it is not difficult to see an even rudimentary use of Deuteronomy in John’s Gospel. In this next section, we will examine only a few of the theological points John likely draws from Deuteronomy, or perhaps it is better said, the Deuteronomy-influenced-schools around him. Again, we cannot help but to turn to Labahn’s essay in Menken and Moyise’s monograph. Like before, our considerations are rather brief; however, this time, monotheism is combined with Christology. Monotheism is the first of the more noticeable features in John likely drawn from Deuteronomy, although it suffers some Christian interference as especially in regards to the deity of Jesus as the Son of God.

1.3.1.     Christology
Immediately, the reader of the Fourth Gospel will hear the echoes of Deuteronomy 18 when approaching the soundings of who Jesus is.[24] The role of Jesus as bread of life and the use of hungry imagery may likewise develop from Deuteronomy, although a Deuteronomy interpreted through the Greco-Roman world.[25] Jesus is also seen as delivering God’s “giver.”[26] Similarly, John’s Christology based in the Shema would lead to a different community as well.[27] It is possible John has in mind something of Deuteronomy 32:39 in Jesus’s constant refrain of εγώ εἰμι. According to Bauckham, this passage was “frequently read as an eschatological prophecy of the salvation God would achieve for his people in the end times.”[28]

This concept, that something may be implied rather than clearly stated or patterned is something J. Louis Martyn takes up in his work on the theology of the Gospel of John.[29] He has cited several implicit affirmations of the prophet-like-Moses Christology including the use of the Law (John 7:19), the Am Ha’arets (7:49), and the study of scriptures (5:39). It may be that these implied connections exist more to the realm of the audience. If this is true, one cannot easily separate the understood allusions to such an audience from the audience themselves especially when, instead of the “Disciples of Moses” as a positive appellation it becomes a pejorative in the hand of John. Rather, while the audience has used allusions to Deuteronomy, John can use the same allusions in a split-level attack so that the author is found drawing from the allusions twice — to support his claims as well as to attack those he desires to. Thus, when reading for Christological allusions, we can allow for a dual use of previous material, first by the germane audience and second by the author or author’s community.[30] John incorporates, in various ways, allusions known by the audience, even the audience in opposition to his own.


[1] Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John, Volume One & Volume Two (Reprint, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 51n451.

[2] David. Lincicum, Paul and the Early Jewish Encounter with Deuteronomy (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. See also “Paul and the Temple Scroll: Reflections on a Shared Engagement with Deuteronomy,” Neotestamentica 43 (1), pp. 69-92; and “Paul’s Engagement with Deuteronomy: Snapshots and Signposts.” Currents in Biblical Research 7, no. 1 (2008): 37–67.

[3] Brandon D. Crowe, The Obedient Son: Deuteronomy and Christology in the Gospel of Matthew (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter), 2012.

[4] David M. Allen, Deuteronomy & Exhortation in Hebrews: A Study in Re-presentation (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008).

[5] G. Waters, The End of Deuteronomy in the Epistles of Paul (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2. Reihe 221, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck), 2006. Much like Lincicum’s monograph, Waters sees a certain typological use of Deuteronomy by Paul, mirroring other Second Temple interpreters.

[6] Maarten J. J. Menken and Steve Moyise (editors), Deuteronomy in the New Testament: The New Testament and the Scriptures of Israel (1st ed.; London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark), 2007.

[7] Severino Pancaro, The Law in the Fourth Gospel: The Torah and the Gospel, Moses and Jesus, Judaism and Christianity According to John (Leiden: Brill Academic Pub, 1975). See also Alan Watson, Jesus and the Jews: The Pharisaic Tradition in John (First Edition; Athens: Univ of Georgia Pr, 1995), 42–3.

[8] Gary T. Manning Jr, Echoes of a Prophet: The Use of Ezekiel in the Gospel of John and in Literature of the Second Temple Period (1st ed.; London: T&T Clark), 2004.

[9] Andrew C. Brunson, Psalm 118 in the Gospel of John: An Intertextual Study on the New Exodus Pattern in the Theology of John (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003).

[10] Franklin W. Young, “A Study of the Relation of Isaiah to the Fourth Gospel.” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der Älteren Kirche 46, no. 3–4 (1955): 215–233.

[11] Ann Roberts Winsor, A King Is Bound in the Tresses: Allusions to the Song of Songs in the Fourth Gospel (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1999).

[12] M. Hengel, “Die Schriftauslegung des 4. Evangeliums auf dem Hintergrund der urchristlichen Exegese”, JBTh 4 (1989), p. 276 n. 95; Schnelle, Johannes, p. 16; Scholtissek, “‘Die unauflösbare Schrift’ (Joh 10,35)”, p. 159

[13] Labahn, “John” in Maarten J. J Menken and Steve Moyise, Deuteronomy in the New Testament: The New Testament and the Scriptures of Israel(London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2007).

[14] The use of Deuteronomy as the source for John 8:17 is supported by Menken as well (Menken, Old Testament Quotations, p. 16: “The legal content of Deut. 19:15 has evidently been rephrased in Johannine language.”)

[15] Labahn,“John” in Menken and Moyise, Deuteronomy in the New Testament, 88. Labahn is not the only one to take this train of thought. Wolfgang Roth likewise sees a connection here with the matter of the “38” years. W. Roth, “Scriptural Coding in the Fourth Gospel”, Biblical Research 32 (1987): 6–29 (11).

[16] Labahn, “John,” in Menken and Moyise, Deuteronomy in the New Testament, 89-90.

[17] Following Hengel (Hengel, “Schriftauslegung”, 286), Labahn sees his as a typological recast of Israel’s punishment spent in the wilderness. He then assigns a narrative function to the sick man, mimicking Israel’s rebellion. Labahn, as to be expected in a brief essay, misses the rather outstanding use of Deuteronomic theology as exemplified in John 5:14.

[18] Between these two verses is an allusion identified by Wolfgang Roth. He points to John 5:30 (κρίσις ἡ ἐμὴ δικαία) as alluding to Deut. 16:18–20. (Roth, Biblical Research, 12.)

[19] M. Theobald, Die Fleischwerdung des Logos: Studien zum Verhältnis des Johannesprologs zum Corpus des Evangeliums und zu 1 Joh. (NTA, 20; Münster: Aschendorff, 1988), pp. 363-64. For Labahn’s allowance, see Menken and Moyise, 92-3.

[20] Minear in Orton, The Composition of John’s Gospel, 191.

[21] Minear in Orton, The Composition of John’s Gospel, 192–3

[22] Maarten J. J. Menken, Old Testament Quotations in the Fourth Gospel, and Hans Hübner, Antje Labahn, and Michael Labahn, Evangelium Secundum Iohannem (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 2003.

[23] There is something of this expansion in Minear in David E. Orton, The Composition of John’s Gospel: Selected Studies from Novum Testamentum (Leiden: Brill Academic Pub, 1999), 190–2. Here, Minear compares the discourses in both John and Deuteronomy, finding an echo of a similar structure. This is supported by Thomas L. Brodie also (The Quest for the Origin of John’s Gospel: A Source-Oriented Approach, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, 166­­–7). Brodie goes further than Minear in drawing a direct connection between the discourses so that topics shared between the Fourth Gospel and Deuteronomy are evident. See also M. Winter, Das Vermächtnis Jesu und die Abschiedsworte der Väter: Gattungsgeschichtliche Untersuchung der Vermächtnisrede im Blick auf Joh. 13—17 (Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 161, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994); Aelred Lacomara sees a psychological aspect in the parallel (“Deuteronomy and the Farewell Discourse (Jn 13:31-16:33)”, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 36, no. 1 (Jan 1974): 65–84). Marc Girard sees a typological structure of John based on the seven days of Creation in Genesis (“La Structure Heptapartite du Quatrième Évangile”, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 5, no. 4 (March 1, 1976): 350–359). Brown and Moloney allow for the connection based on thematic grounds. (Introduction to the Gospel of John, 135–6.) Keener denies that such a connection exists (The Gospel of John, Vol 1, 51), at least in similar structures, although he does allow for a similarity to exist between the Farewell Discourses in John and Deuteronomy (53) and that Deuteronomy serves as a model of writing for John (291).

[24] See W. A. Meeks, The Prophet-King: Moses Traditions and the Johannine Christology (NovTSup, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1967); M. E. Boismard, Moses or Jesus: An Essay in Johannine Christology (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993); K. S. Fuglseth, Johannine Sectarianism in Perspective: A Sociological, Historical, and Comparative Analysis of Temple and Social relationships in the Gospel of John, Philo, and Qumran (NovTSup, 119; Leiden et al.: Brill, 2005), p. 266.; A. Obermann, Die christologische Erfüllung der Schrift im Johannesevangelium. Eine Untersuchung zur johanneischen Hermeneutik anhand der Schriftzitate (WUNT, 11/83 Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1996), pp. 138-39, 370 n. 14. See also Anderson in Semeia 85: 34, God the Father in the Gospel of John (ed. Adele Reinhartz; Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 1999) where he posits the Father-Son relationship prevalent in Fourth Gospel is based on the “prophet-like-Moses typology.” Anderson also sees the prophet-like-Moses as a buffer against any sort of “gnostic redeemer myth.” See Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher, eds. John, Jesus, and History, Volume 1: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views (First Edition; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007), 28. It is telling that in this massive volume, the only use of Deuteronomy is specifically 18:15–22, and only by Anderson. A brief but essential dialogue with the various motifs branching away from the prophet-like-Moses motif can be found in Paul S. Minear’s essay in Orton, The Composition of John’s Gospel, 186–204, (189–90). Anderson also notes the use of Deuteronomy 34:10–12 when discussing Moses as Prophet. (Anderson, The Christology of John’s Gospel, 176.) Keener would argue against the consensus here, suggesting that the disciples are more like Moses while Jesus serves the role of God’s glory (Keener, The Gospel of John, 51.)

[25] See J.G. van der Watt, “I Am the Bread of Life. Imagery in John 6:32–51,” Acta Theologica 2007:2, 195. He references several Greco-Roman works while pointing to Deuteronomy 8:3; 28:48; 32.24. As well, the use of the imagery here compounded with εγώ εἰμι in John 6:35 is also connected to Deuteronomy 32:39. van der Watt, 198. McGrath (John’s Apologetic Christianity, 177) suggests a Deuteronomic background for this imagery as well, citing Deuteronomy 8:3. Paul Anderson (The Christology of the Fourth Gospel (1st ed.; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck), 1996, 59) sees a reflection in John 6:31 of Deuteronomy 8:2f (along with Isaiah 55:1f).

[26] Keener, The Gospel of John, 567. Keener calls attention to the role Moses takes in giving the Torah (as directed by God) to Israel in Deuteronomy (cf. Deut 4:8, 40; 5:22, 29; 9:10–1; 10:4; 11:32 and 31:9 LXX).

[27] Beutler, “Die Johannesbriefe in der neuesten Literatur (1978-1985)”, in Beutler, Studien, pp. 121–40 (132).

[28] Bauckham, Testimony of the Beloved Disciple, 246–7.

[29] J. Louis Martyn, History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel, Revised and Expanded (3rd ed; Louisville:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 101–2, especially the outline provided by Martyn.

[30] This fits well with Hans Hübner’s explanation of the development of early Christology. See Biblische Theologie des Neuen Testaments. 3 Vols. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 1995.

 

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The Use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel, Part 1 (former prospectus)

The recto of Rylands Library Papyrus P52 from ...

The recto of Rylands Library Papyrus P52 from the Gospel of John. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am changing my dissertation focus from a literary analysis of the Fourth Gospel’s use of Deuteronomy to something else. Therefore, I am posting what I have already written. I’ll upload it on Academia.edu later. 

The Use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel

Introduction

With every proposal for something new comes the necessary reexamination of something old. If we were like the writer of the Epistle of Hebrews, I would suggest old means a ready to pass away; I have no such intention. It is quite possible nothing has passed away since the studying of the Fourth Gospel began in the Second Century but only found a new use by a new generation of scholars. Before I outline my proposal for this thesis, it behooves me first to narrow down by expanding upon what we have heard from the beginning of critical analysis into several facets of the life and role of the Gospel of John. Thus, the plan of this chapter follows a relatively short schema. I will give an overview of John’s use of the Old Testament; research on the Fourth Gospel’s use of Deuteronomy; and follow these with my thesis accompanied by several examples of the type of research to be accomplished. The final examination is directed towards other issues currently under discussion in Johannine Studies.

  1. State of Scholarship on John’s Use of the Old Testament

Before we begin our examination of John’s use of the Old Testament, we must first determine what the word “use” implies.[1] There are different ways to use a previous text. The Greco-Roman practice of mimesis sought to use previous works in different ways, with a proceeding text likely to act as a validating text. A later author may directly quote, allude to, or use images and themes from the previous work to act as an intertextual backbone for this new creation.[2] A quotation is often easy enough to spot in John, with the author graciously using several different formulas to point to his use of his authoritative book(s) —i.e., various Jewish writings of the time. Thus, a quotation is noticeable even to audiences far removed from the author’s original context, even if the quoted text is now a footnote in literary history. An allusion, however, is much less likely to traverse well the ravages of time — echoes are even more difficult to hear once you are too distant from the original author.

For the more investigative modern reader, allusions and echoes remain a pursued enterprise. If the modern interpreter can decipher these two keys, the text becomes that much more alive, settled, and perhaps within reach. The allusion, or rather, the concept of allusion, is a relatively new one.[3] Even now, scholars debate on the existential meaning of allusion, especially whether or not the author intentionally uses allusions. Echoes are even more tenuous, residing usually in the neutral zone of the literary critic. While I contend allusions are equally important as quotations — if not more so — there are many issues surrounding these hypothetical instances, issues we will attempt to answer in a later chapter. For now, however, we will define allusion as an unattested but intentional quotation while echo is just as it sounds, the inescapable use of a previous work that has so invested itself into the author’s frame of reference it is impossible not to speak or write without subconsciously referring to or in some way using the text.[4] In the following two sections, we will examine the scholarship on both quotations and allusions (Old Testament as used by the author of the Fourth Gospel), but leave for later the illusive search for echoes.
1.1.              Quotations

For the purpose of this proposal, I will recognize fifteen direct quotations — rather, I recognize fifteen quotations signaled out by a recognizable formula although their sources are often disputed.[5] These formulas are as follows:[6]

 

  • 1:23 … καθὼς εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας
  • 2:17 ἐμνήσθησαν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι γεγραμμένον…
  • 6:31 καθώς ἐστιν γεγραμμένον…
  • 6:45 ἔστιν γεγραμμένον ἐν τοῖς προφήταις…
  • 7:38 καθὼς εἶπεν ἡ γραφή…
  • 7:42 οὐχ ἡ γραφὴ εἶπεν…
  • 10:34 Οὐκ ἔστιν γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν…
  • 12:14 καθώς ἐστιν γεγραμμένον…
  • 12:38 ἵνα ὁ λόγος Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πληρωθῇ ὃν εἶπεν…
  • 12:39 πάλιν εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας…
  • 13:18 ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ…
  • 15:25 ἀλλʼ ἵνα πληρωθῇ ὁ λόγος ὁ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ αὐτῶν γεγραμμένος…
  • 19:24 ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ ἡ λέγουσα…
  • 19:36 ἐγένετο γὰρ ταῦτα ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ·…
  • 19:37 καὶ πάλιν ἑτέρα γραφὴ λέγει…

As Steve Moyise points out, these formulas include a “verb of writing.”[7] However, John is not content with quoting only recognizable written works as we see above, but has included into his primary sources at least one, perhaps two, other sources we are as of yet unfamiliar with. They occur in 17:12 and 19:28.[8]

As noted above, when John quotes directly from a known text, he has a particular formula to call to his audience’s attention his use of the text, almost like an anachronistic footnote. However, except for just a few of these instances, John does not give a locus for his source.[9] This has left, as Moyise demonstrates, a lingering discussion among various scholars as to from where these quotations hale.[10]

Andreas Köstenberger is not so unsure as to where the sources for the direct quotations lie. He states, “In terms of distribution, seven quotations (or 50 percent) are from Psalms; four from Isaiah; two from Zechariah; one from the Pentateuch.”[11] Köstenberger adamantly relates the style of Johannine usage to the Matthean usage, suggesting a rooting “firmly in OT conceptualities and specific texts” for the Fourth Gospel.[12] Overall, Köstenberger relies too heavily on what appears to be a singular use of fulfillment formulas found among the Synoptics and the Pauline literature, suggesting a more theological approach to the Johannine quotations. Simply, he seems to see only a validating tendency of the author’s theology by using quotations.

What Köstenbeger does provide, however, is a basis for examining the quotations from the original text. It is possible John used a variety of the pre-Masoretic Text, although many of his quotations are more likely to derive in some way from the Greek Old Testament.[13]

John  Old Testament  Relationship with [proto-] Masoretic Text, Septuagint 
1:23  Isa. 40:3  LXX? Change from hetoimasate … eutheias to euthynate 
2:17  Ps. 69:9a  LXX? Change from katephagen to kataphagetai 
6:31  Ps. 78:24b  LXX? Phagein at end rather than beginning; ek tou added 
6:45  Isa. 54:13a  LXX? As in MT, pantes nom. rather than acc. (as in LXX); as in LXX, theou rather than kyriou; “your sons” omitted 
10:34  Ps. 82:6a  Same as LXX = MT 
12:13  Ps. 118:26a  Same as LXX = MT (adds kai ho basileus tou Israēl 
12:15  Zech. 9:9  Independent adaptation of LXX/MT: “do not fear” added (Isa. 40:9?); sou omitted; “sitting,” not “mounting”; “colt of a donkey” (Gen. 49:11?) 
12:38  Isa. 53:1  Same as LXX = MT 
12:40  Isa. 6:10  Independent adaption of LXX/MT: “hearing” omitted; concentric structure changed to parallel one; etc. 
13:18  Ps. 41:9b  Seems independent of LXX; own translation from Hebrew? 
15:25  Ps. 35:19 or 69:4  LXX? Accurately reflects both MT and LXX 
19:24  Ps. 22:18  Same as LXX = MT 
19:36  Exod. 12:46 or Num. 9:12; Ps. 34:20  LXX? Combination of Exod. 12:46/Num. 9:12; Ps. 34:20 
19:37  Zech. 12:10  Close to Hebrew; LXX misreads the Hebrew; testimonium

 

We will now examine a selected quotation among the various scholars just mentioned. For instance, John quotes a text in 2:17, giving us the footnote according the remembrance of the disciples.[14] Unlike Mark’s Gospel (11:17), John does not refer to Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11. Of course, unlike Mark’s Gospel, the scope of the passage is not the impurity of the Temple caused by the exclusion of Gentiles. Hanson suggests a basis for John’s reporting of Jesus’s words in Psalm 69:9 and Zechariah 14:21, mixed with Psalm 8:8.[15] This allows Hanson to interpret the passage against the physical temple in favor of the temple of the body of the risen Christ. Köstenberger follows the more traditional route in connecting John 2:17 to Psalm 69:9.[16] The point of this example is not to delve into the different theological interpretations caused by different sources, but only to point out the variety of scholarly allowances for Johannine sources.[17]

1.2.  Allusions 

Allusions tend to allow to for a more robust discussion. If we begin with Köstenberger’s chart, we discover numerous allusions to a wider range of Old Testament books than what we have found in the use of direct quotations.[18] These allusions include verbal allowance, a feast or some ritual event, some motif or ethical allowance from the Old Testament, or simply familiar language.[19] Several scholars have noted even the allusion between postures. For instance, Glasson sees a connection in the way Jesus is physical presented in 19:18 with the way Moses is presented in Exodus 17:12.[20]

Moyise sees in the Johannine prologue (1:1-18) allusions to Genesis, Proverbs (specifically chapter 8) and Exodus. He also uses John 1:51, proposing a connection to the story of Jacob’s ladder to round out his brief exploration of allusions in the Gospel of John.[21] Hanson has provided us other examples as well.[22] What these allusions do, however, rather than what they connect to, may be more important. Carson, following Hanson, sees theological significance in the allusions, allowing for a shaping of the Johannine narrative by the material used from the Old Testament.[23] More than this, however, is Carson’s allowance for a new reading of the Old Testament passage as required by the Johannine usage.[24]

1.3.         Use of the Old Testament in John’s theology
The use of the Old Testament in the Fourth Gospel, as with Deuteronomy below, is worth examining beyond the literary sharing of words in quotes or allusions. If we are to explore the possible intention of the author in using previous texts as something beyond using these texts as a cultural dictionary to supplement one’s word-choices then we must first examine briefly thematic material borrowed by the Evangelist to build his theology. These theological examinations are not exhaustive, but will highlight two interconnected areas — monotheism and Christology.

We must assume a rather liberal terminology in discussing John’s Old Testament. The term itself is rather anachronistic, coming to us only in the second century of Christianity; however, it is a term used throughout this work to reflect the larger canonical restriction of books largely accepted by Jews and most Christians today. Moreover, we cannot fully limit our search of John’s sources to the 39 books of the current Jewish canon of Scripture, but push this to include the breadth of books in the Septuagint, or Old Greek — a set of books much more likely to be used by John.[25] These books include our deuterocanonical works like Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon, as D. Moody Smith has pointed out.[26] While like-minded theology may be found in other (now) extant works such as those found at Qumran, these are considered only as sources to measure John’s lexicon rather than sources of John’s thought.

1.3.1.     Monotheism
Richard Bauckham sees a retelling of Genesis 1:1–4, and the monotheism it entails, in the first few verses of the prologue.[27] Also noticeable is the normative Jewish separation between God and creation by the use of the agent (ὁ λόγος), allowing for a distinctly monotheistic view. Following this, as Bauckham notes, is the use of the said agent well in line with Psalm 33:6.[28] As I will note in the next section, the monotheism of Deutero-Isaiah impacts the monotheism of John, but this is a topic better reserved in the discussion of John’s use of Deuteronomy.[29] Monotheism, while not a constant refrain in the Old Testament, nevertheless makes its appearance in Deuteronomy and several of the Prophets while continuing to appear in what is now called the Deuteronocanon.[30]

1.3.2.     Christology
The invitation to explore John’s Christology begins with Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. From there, the author of the Fourth Gospel begins to reinforce in his audience the nature of the λόγοςand how Jesus fulfills this. The author has no need to pull directly from pure Hellenistic sources, as he has thesyncretistic Wisdom of Solomon before him, a work based on various Old Testament texts including the Hebrew Proverbs 8.[31]The use of the wisdom motiffs has allowed John to rewrite the Jewish Creation account to include Jesus as essential, as if Jesus was there.[32]

The seven Ἐγώ εἰμιstatements followed by a noun build the Christological theme around several Old Testament themes; however, Bauckham argues for the lesser recognized statements where the same statements are allowed by John to stand alone.[33] These statements are connected in the Old Testament theophanies, including Exodus 3:14 with its well known Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν.[34] It is also possible John used Isaiah 40–55 where the Deutero-Isaiac author uses the phrase several times (in Hebrew for the original author and in Greek for the translator).[35]

Robert Kysar proposes a controversy surrounding the Christological response found in John, especially the prologue.[36] Following other “students of the Fourth Gospel” — namely C.K. Barrett, Barnabas Lindars, and Raymond Brown — Kysar proposes a Jesus as better-than-Torah motif in the prologue as well as the advent of the creation.[37] This view, of a controversy answered by the prologue, is likewise held by James McGrath who brings into focus the role of Moses in discussing the Christology of the prologue.[38] His premise, however, carries with it the sectarian psychology of legitimization, something we will explore later in this work. By using the Old Testament, John, according to McGrath (and others), has called for a legitimization of the sect — he accomplishes this by using the various Old Testament themes, allusions, and quotations in designing his theological view of Jesus.

The state of scholarship is immense regarding John’s use of the Old Testament to not only provide a lexicon and dictionary of quotations for his Gospel while using it as fodder for his own theology. What is shown with the aforementioned scholarship is the reliance of the author of the Fourth Gospel upon the Jewish Scriptures. They are his literary and theological education and with little doubt the mold of his cognitive environment. Given the amount of references, John would have received the Jesus tradition through the lens of his library. Here, I have but touched on a rather finite portion of this scholarship to show John is familiar with the Old Testament, by his manifold employment of it, with the hopes of creating an allowance for the singular study on the Book of Deuteronomy.


[1] Edwin Freed made no such distinction, instead referring to even allusions as quotations (Old Testament Quotations in the Gospel of John, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1965.) As we will see, quotations and allusions are used by the author of the Fourth Gospel intentionally for different reasons.

[2] Merrill C. Tenney in “The Old Testament and the Fourth Gospel” (Bibliotheca Sacra 120 (1963), 300–8) has differentiated the use of the Old Testament into three slightly different categories than the ones given below. For Tenney, citations are “almost exact verbally and which are definitely referred to a given author” while quotations are “sufficiently close to the original to leave no doubt concerning their derivation” while allusions are based on “only one or two words out of a sentence parallel in the Biblical text.” (301-2) Such a rigid view would prevent the paraphrasitic nature of John’s writing to reveal to the reader the number of quotations while hiding allusions.

[3] The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics defines allusion as “(a) brief, indirect, and deliberate reference— in a poem or other medium— to a person, place, event (fictitious or actual), or other work of art, allusion may be used by its author to enhance a work’s semantic and cultural density, topicality, or timelessness.” (The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition, Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 42.)

[4] For a fuller discussion on the use of these three instruments in reading the Gospels and their use of the Old Testament, see Steve Moyise, The Old Testament in the New: An Introduction (T&T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies, London: T&T Clark International, 2001), 5-7.

[5] Carson sees only 13 ‘direct quotations.’ He allows for 1:51 as an allusion, but cites others who see it as a quotation. D. A. Carson, and Hugh Godfrey Maturin Williamson, eds. It Is Written: Scripture Citing Scripture: Essays in Honour of Barnabas Lindars, SSF (Reissue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 246. Fifteen are allowed by Menken (Old Testaments Quotations in the Fourth Gospel. Studies in Textual Form (CBET, 15; Kampen: KokPharos, 1996). G. Reim, sees one with the rest acting as allusions (Jochanan: Erweiterte Studien zum alttestamentlichen Hintergrund des Johannesevangeliums (Erlangen: Verlag der Ev.-Luth. Mission, 1995), pp. 108-9). Tenney (above) sees only three “positive citations” but fifteen quotations and eighteen allusions (Tenney, “Old Testament in the Fourth Gospel,” 301). Raymond Brown and Francis Moloney follow the NA-26 in recognizing 19 explicit quotations (Raymond E. Brown and Francis J. Moloney. An Introduction to the Gospel of John. 1st ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, 132–3).

[6] Steve Moyise, The Old Testament in the New: An Introduction (T&T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies, London: T&T Clark International, 2001), 64.

[7] The quotation formula is bifurcated. Whereas Moyise’s “verb of writing” occurs in the first half of the Gospel, the second partition has the author “prefer(ing) a fulfillment word.” (Moyise, 63).

[8] These two specific instances will be explored in a later chapter.

[9] John 1:23 includes the source of the quotation. Where a source is not easily determined, Menken has deferred to G. Richter in suggesting a Targum as the heart of the Johannine School. M. J. J. Menken, “The Provenance and Meaning of the Old Testament Quotation in John 6:31,” Novum Testamentum XXX, 1 (1988), 39. See G. Richter, Studien zum Johannesevangelium, ed by J Hainz (Biblische Untersuchungen 13, Regensburg: F. Pustet, 1977), 199-265.

[10] Carson argues lightly against a strong line of separation between direct quotations and allusions, calling them “paraphrastic.” (Carson, It is Written, 246). Not all scholars agree about the lack of clarity for the origin of the quotations.

[11] A. Köstenberger in “John,” G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007), 415.

[12] Köstenberger, “John” in Beale, Commentary,413. Kösterberger also writes, “The overall purpose of the use of the OT in John’s Gospel, as evidenced by the formal quotations, is to show that both Jesus’ public ministry and his cross-death fulfilled scriptural patterns and prophecies.” (Commentary, 416)

[13] The following list is found in Köstenberger, “John” in Beale and Carson, Commentary, 417.

[14] The idea of remembering by the disciples provides the Evangelist the ability to quote Scripture. Only four quotations are placed in the mouth of Jesus. One is from the Baptizer, two from the crowd, while the remaining seven are directly from the Evangelist’s pen. (Köstenberger, “John” in Beale and Carson, Commentary, 418). Carson sees 2:17 as among the editorial comments. (Carson, It Is Written, 246). In this instance, Urban C. von Wahlde sees a hallmark to a second edition, “This formula appears only in material of the second edition in the Gospel and reflects the common rabbinic formula for referring to the canonical Jewish Scriptures.” Thus, many of the quotations may be the work of later redactors. (Urban C. von Wahlde, The Gospel and Letters of John, Volume 2: Commentary on the Gospel of John, The Eerdmans Critical Commentary, Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010, 101.) The appendix provided in von Wahlde’s third volume of this series is heavily reflective of source criticism, allowing several editions of John’s Gospel. This would make it almost impossible to propose and then to discover a cohesive view of Old Testament quotations in the Fourth Gospel. Francis Moloney sees a set pattern in the introductory formula, something we will explore below. (“The Gospel of John: The ‘End’ of Scripture.” Interpretation 63, no. 4 (October 1, 2009): 356–366.)

[15]Anthony Hanson, The Prophetic Gospel: Study of John and the Old Testament (London: T&T Clark, 2006), 43. Lincolns notes the Johannine usage of Psalm 69 reaches beyond 2:17 to include the use of verses 4 and 21 in John 15:25 and 19:28-9 respectively. See Andrew T. Lincoln, The Gospel According to Saint John (Black’s New Testament Commentary, London: Continuum, 2005), 138.

[16] Köstenberger, “John” in Beale and Carson, Commentary, 431–2.

[17] Margaret Daly-Denton, David in the Fourth Gospel: The Johannine Reception of the Psalms (Brill Academic Pub, 1999), 188.

[18] Köstenberger, “John” in Beale and Carson, Commentary, 419-420. Köstenberger’s chapter in the book handles these allusions. Likewise, David A. Jones has developed an extensive list of Johannine quotations and allusions, Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009). Jones steps outside the Protestant canon to explore possible allusions to other literature now considered deuterocanonical.

[19] Köstenberger, “John” in Beale and Carson, Commentary, 420. Köstenberger cites John 16:22 and Isaiah 66:14 as one such allusion based on the familiarity of language. The author goes on to note the uncited allusions — 1:45; 2:22; 3:19; 5:39, 45-46; 12:34; 20:9.

[20] T. F. Glasson, Moses in the Fourth Gospel (Eugene: Wipf & Stock Pub, 2009), 40-4. Glasson is not the last to see allusions in the Fourth Gospel of Moses. See Wayne A. Meeks, Prophet-King: Moses Traditions and the Johannine Christology (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1967) and M. E. Boismard, Moses or Jesus. An Essay in Johannine Christology. Translated by B.T. Viviano (Leuven: Peeters), 1993.

[21] Moyise, 71-2. There is little to contend with here, except unlike Jones (see above) and Köstenberger, Moyise does not include any (what is now) extra-canonical literature, such as the Wisdom of Solomon and other prominent Second Temple works.

[22] Hanson, Prophetic Gospel, 126-9.

[23] For example, see Kirsten Nielsen’s essay, “Old Testament Imagery in John,” where she identifies the use of Ezekiel 34 with John 10. The two passages share numerous points of connection including the shepherd imagery as well as “I am” statements, something we may consider as an interplay between allusion and direction quotation. (Johannes Nissen and Sigfred Pedersen, New Readings in John. Revised. London: T&T Clark, 2004, 70).

[24] Carson, It Is Written, 252. This issue will figure heavily in later chapters.

[25] While several critical versions of the Septuagint are currently available, unless otherwise noted the Septuaginta Gottingensis is used as the critical text.

[26] D. Moody Smith, The Theology of the Gospel of John (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 18

[27] Richard Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 240.

[28] Bauckham, Testimony of the Beloved Disciple, 241.

[29] John Ashton sees a less-than-“austere monotheism” in John as compared to Deuteronomy and Deutero-Isaiah (Understanding the Fourth Gospel. 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, 93).

[30] See Gerald O’Collins, SJ, Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus (2nd ed. Oxford Oxford University Press, 2009), 124–5. Several of the passages cited in O’Collins no doubt underlie the theology under John’s vision of God as the Father of Jesus.

[31] Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel, 384–386. Ashton is not able to point to a direct dependence between the two, but is able to show considerable points of collusion between the two works. T. E. Pollard notes the scholarly emphasis to suggest the prologue, instead of fully relying on Hellenistic Judaism (either theology or translations), relies instead on the “dbhar Yahweh.” (See T. E. Pollard, Johannine Christology and the Early Church, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 8.) In our study, it matters little such a miniscule difference.

[32] Bauckham, Testimony of the Beloved Disciple, 241

[33] Bauckham, Testimony of the Beloved Disciple, 244–9. These are found in 4:46; 6:20; 8:24; 8:28; 8:58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8.

[34] It is possible John intended a reference in 1:51 to one such merger between heaven and earth. Meeks connects 1:51 to Genesis 28:12 based on the use of ἀναβαίνοντας καὶ καταβαίνοντας. He does note, however, the lack of any set imagery in the Fourth Gospel to correspond with the expected appearance of the angel. (Wayne A. Meeks, In Search of the Early Christians: Selected Essays. Edited by Prof Allen R. Hilton and H. Gregory Snyder. First Edition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002, 60–1). It is best to examine this allusion to Genesis as indicating a better-than motif. There are no angels in John to ascend or descend, only Jesus (cf. 3:13).

[35] Cf Isaiah 41:4; 43:10, 25; 46:4; 51:2. The use of this phrase in Deutero-Isaiah is especially telling due to the distinctive evolution of monotheism by that author. Not only did these chapters provide for monotheism, likewise, they provided for contextualizing Jesus as used by the New Testament writers.

[36] Robert Kysar, Voyages with John: Charting the Fourth Gospel (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2006), 37.

[37] Kysar, Voyages with John, 37–8; Kysar follows J. Louis Martyn in placing the opening of John in light of Genesis 1:1.

[38] James F. McGrath, John’s Apologetic Christology: Legitimation and Development in Johannine Christology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 149–96.

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Review of “Praying in God’s Theater” at Ricoblog

The end product is a set of rich prayers focused on the text of Revelation with surrounding material setting the scene based on the testimony of the church through the ages. You’ve seen and read nothing like it on the book of Revelation. If you read it seriously, you’ll be better for it.

You can find the review here.

Thanks, Rick!

Review of “Praying in God’s Theater” at Ponderings on a Faith Journey

Praying in God’s Theater can appeal to a number of audiences.  For one, I think that his reading of Revelation, while not unique, provides us with a different way into the text.  It will appeal – or could appeal – to persons with strong interests in liturgy – especially Eucharistic liturgy.  The book will help flesh out what in most Protestant contexts is rather spare of meaning and practice…For those who might be too earthly minded to be of any heavenly good, Joel invites us to open our eyes to the mysteries of God.  For those seeking an aid to spiritual practices, again the book can be of help.

Ponderings on a Faith Journey: Praying in God’s Theater (Joel Watts) — Review.

My @EIR_AAR paper: Jesus as Primary Actor

Syracuse University - Hall of Languages

Syracuse University – Hall of Languages (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a draft modified slightly as it was presented 4 May 2014 at the AAR-EIR meeting at Syracuse University. I have removed only a few of the literary artefacts of previous versions. After the presentation, several discussion questions were raised. There are as follows (as best I can from memory):

  1. I was asked to address more on the idea of divine abandonment.
  2. The chair pointed out the work still to do on one particular aspect — the civil war between God and Israel.
  3. Questions were asked about this suggestion fits into early Christian martyrologies.
  4. Other questions pointing to application were raised, such as
    1. How does this fit into historic theology
    2. What would such a suggestion change today
    3. How can we use this to understand current religious/political martyrdom

Note, I have used Matthew Fox’s translation of Pharsalia, unless otherwise noted. The numbers, since it is a kindle version, are a bit off. I will update these lines once I return to this subject.

Thank to Adam for the invite and the warm reception.

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Robert Cornwall is reading “Praying in God’s Theater”

You can read his interaction here.

He concludes,

I’ve heard it said that some are Christmas Christians and some are Easter Christians, but can we have one without the other? And if we have to choose, if we look to the New Testament, then birth, while assumed, is not the focal point.

As we continue the journey through this season of Easter, moving toward Ascension and Pentecost, may those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus consider the centrality of the resurrection!

I am always… shaking…when someone says they are reading my book. But, I am glad Cornwall is rather enjoying it. And I am glad Cornwall is reading it.

Whew….