📖[PDF] Creation Matter and the Image of God by Dorothy A Lee | Perlego
Get access to over 750,000 titles
Start your free trial today and explore our endless library.
Join perlego now to get access to over 750,000 books
Join perlego now to get access to over 750,000 books
Join perlego now to get access to over 750,000 books
Join perlego now to get access to over 750,000 books
Creation Matter and the Image of God
Creation Matter and the Image of God
📖 Book - PDF

Creation Matter and the Image of God

Essays on John
Dorothy A Lee
shareBook
Share book
pages
304 pages
language
English
format
ePUB (mobile friendly) and PDF
availableOnMobile
Available on iOS & Android
📖 Book - PDF

Creation Matter and the Image of God

Essays on John
Dorothy A Lee
Book details
Table of contents
Citations

About This Book

Ever since I studied it at University in an undergraduate degree in Classics, I have loved the Gospel of John, a love that has not changed over the decades of reading and studying it. Perhaps I was an infant then, paddling in a safe pool, and became an elephant swimming in the great depths, but either way I never lost my fascination or my sense that there was always more to be discovered, to be puzzled over, to be said. At times, I still experience the Gospel like a small child, reveling in its sparkling waters and bright sun; at other times, its shadowy depths seem to reach far beneath anything I can imagine or experience or exhaust. Though I had intended to pursue doctoral studies in Paul, I was drawn back to the Fourth Gospel and ended up exploring the symbolism of the six long Johannine narratives that make up the first half of the Gospel. Since then, though I have wondered sometimes from Johannine shores, I have always returned there and always will. This book traces that love of the Fourth Gospel, gathering together a selection of my essays and articles published over the past few decades. They have as their focus the Gospel of John or, in the case of one essay, the First Epistle of John, including some comparison with the other Gospels. The first was published in 1993 and the last in 2020, which covers just over twenty-five years of my academic life. The essays and articles explore the symbolism of the Johannine text and the way it communicates key themes, using a literary critical approach that pays particular attention to the narrative context and the various literary tropes and structures contained within the narrative. They also give heed to the theology which emerges from the literary form, not as banana peel to be discarded in order to eat the banana but as the fragrant flesh of ripe peaches or plums where nothing is unneeded, and even the stone can be planted for new growth. The contents make clear my own formation in the historical critical method of Gospel study, with the reservation that narrative study needs to complement research into the background of the Gospel in its ancient setting. Without that literary move, historical methodology leaves us with a car engine dismantled and the parts strewed all around. A narrative reading helps reassemble the pieces, enabling us to recognise, not just the details, but the whole piece in its integrity, even with all its oddities and quirks. The emphasis on how symbolism operates within the narrative comes through a number of the articles and essays, showing how essential they are to the message: not decorative but substantial, inseparable from the text's meaning. In addition to critical study, the book shows the influences of two significant but very different fields. The first is the influence of feminist critical studies in Gospel research. This approach, which is itself multi-faceted and diverse, asks the question of where and how female characters are presented within the biblical text. It takes issue with female invisibility in much interpretation of and commentary on the Gospels. It also seeks to understand the patriarchal context out of which the Gospels arose, exploring the points at which the text is enmeshed in its own setting and where it might challenge that setting and its accompanying values. Feminist studies do not provide a unified answer for all time but raise the questions to be asked and the approaches that can be taken in analysing the text from the perspective of women's faith. The second area of influence is that of Greek and Eastern Orthodoxy. The theological perspectives arising from this tradition have often been forgotten in the West. Yet it has maintained in some sense a more integrated approach to creation. Western scholarship, like Western Christianity more generally, has moved in more recent times to an individualistic and spiritualised reading of the biblical text that neglects its earthiness: its groundedness in matter. Traditions from the East have continued to see humanity as integral to creation, with the destinies of each coinciding. Both its materiality and its eschatology bring a challenge to the West to recover its own sense of human beings caught up in a community that transcends not only time and place but also species, recognising kinship with all created beings who share a common future in redemption. Moving from an anthropocentric to a holistic perspective makes a difference to the way we interpret the New Testament text to take seriously the role and place of creation. This viewpoint has challenged my own thinking and will be apparent in a number of the items in this book. Indeed the title of the title of the book is derived from the first article which concerns matter and its place in the Gospel story. The book itself is divided into three sections. The first section—'Creation and Incarnation in John'—comprises material that is connected to the overall Johannine theological theme of creation and incarnation. The four pieces examine the place of creation in John's understanding and the effects of the incarnation within that worldview. The emphasis on matter includes also a study of the five physical senses of the body in the Johannine narrative. It also provides an overview of symbolism in the Gospel and the way it operates alongside the 'signs' of the Gospel, since these too are grounded in John's understanding of creation and incarnation. The second section—'Characters in John'—consists of studies of several of the Johannine characters. There are five chapters in this section. Mostly it involves individual characters who function positively in the Gospel narrative as models of faith. Mary Magdalene and Thomas are the main characters in John 20 and they revolve around the giving of the Holy Spirit (20:19–23), displaying on either side the authentic response of faith, a faith achieved through initial misunderstanding. John the Baptist and the beloved disciple function as counterparts across the Johannine narrative, the one at the beginning of the Gospel and the other only appearing in the second half. Each performs a vital narrative role as key witnesses to Jesus, the one drawing the past into the present and the other pointing to the future and the reception of the Gospel itself. The two sisters, Martha and Mary of Bethany appear in the one Johannine narrative (11:1–12:11) and make possible a fascinating comparison with their appearance in the Gospel of Luke, where they play not dissimilar roles in relation to Jesus and reveal themselves, in both Gospels, as women of distinctive faith for the readers of both texts. Moses is not, of course, a character in the Gospel of John but he is named thirteen times in the first nine chapters of the text, and he represents the Law and the esteemed place it holds in the Gospel as the pointer and vehicle to the Johannine Jesus. Finally, an early article is included on women disciples and the question of whether they are present at the Last Supper in the four canonical Gospels. Since then my thinking has developed and I am more inclined to the view that women disciples, along with others, were present at the Last Supper and that the Synoptic Gospels mention only the twelve for symbolic reasons (assuming the presence of a wider group of Jesus' disciples) in order to strengthen the link between the Eucharist and Israel-Passover. John, however, gives the clearest answer, not so much in what is said as the Gospel's relative lack of interest in the twelve and the vagueness around who is and who is not a disciple and companion of Jesus. This article involves a group of disciples rather than an individual and it encompasses all the Gospels, but the conclusion points particularly to the Gospel of John. The last section, entitled 'Themes in John', includes five essays on distinctive themes or tropes within the Gospel and Epistles of John. The first three deal with the Gospel itself: the use of Passover imagery throughout the Gospel, focusing on Jesus as the 'Lamb of God'; the way the Parable of the Sheepfold expands through John 10 and the Christology it discloses, along with the hostile response of the authorities; the theme of worship in the Fourth Gospel and early Christian writings, illustrating its centrality for grasping a sense of John's theology and Christology. The final article and essay moves in a somewhat different direction. The transfiguration narrative, so central in the Synoptic Gospels, is lacking in the Gospel of John, but there are distinctive signs of its presence in the narrative flow, with particular emphasis in several Johannine texts; these illustrates John's knowledge of the Synoptic Gospels or, at the very least, the Synoptic traditions. The last piece is a literary study of 1 John, exploring the way in which the symbolism of fictive kinship, so central to the Epistle, wends its way through the complex structure and reveals itself as the living heart of the letter. The collection does not pretend to be comprehensive or to cover every Johannine symbol and theme. There is also a degree of overlap in essays and articles that pursue a similar theme, especially in the area of John's use of symbolism. Other literary devices are present in the text and other themes, which are not covered. These are a sample of one way of approaching the New Testament text, viewing the mountain from one angle, with the awareness that there are more perspectives from which it has been, and can be, viewed. This is part of the dialogue of Gospel studies that illustrate the richness and diversity which different approaches bring to readings of the New Testament. This book would not have been made possible without the help of many over the past decades. I thank in the first place the editor of ATF Press, Hilary Regan, for his proposing the collection in the first place and his ongoing encouragement and assistance in its production. I am grateful to my faculty colleagues at Trinity College who have given me space and time to engage in research, including Peter Campbell and Karen Graham for their editorial assistance. I am also grateful to my closest 'Johannine' friends with whom, over the years, we have had many fruitful discussions: Brendan Byrne, Mary L Coloe, and Francis J Moloney. I also want to record my thanks to Muriel Porter for her generous support of the project. Lastly I am thankful to my wider family, both in Australia and the UK, and particularly to my father, who also loved the Gospel and Epistles of John and to whom this collection is fondly dedicated.

Read More

Information

Publisher
ATF Press Publishing
Year
2020
ISBN
9781925679267
Topic
Languages & Linguistics
Subtopic
Linguistics

Table of contents