God in the Fourth Gospel : A Hermeneutical Study of the History of Interpretations

Sammanfattning: This book presents an exhaustive and systematic investigation of six representatives of three important periods of New Testament interpretation: Martin Luther, John Calvin, Brooke Foss Westcott, Heinrich Julius Holtzmann, Rudolf Bultmann and Raymond E. Brown. They serve as dialogue partners in an investigation of the notion of God in the Fourth Gospel, a topic that has been called “the neglected factor in New Testament theology”. The six interpreters’ commentaries on the Fourth Gospel are read attentively and then used in a comparative dialogue with modern exegesis. Their results, methods, and presuppositions are investigated, and the outcome shows a great diversity even between interpreters who lived and worked in the same period. The investigation also shows that there are significant similarities through the centuries, especially as regards a genuinely theological subject such as the notion of God. The positions on questions that are still debated had their representatives already in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.The notion of God in the Fourth Gospel that emerges through this investigation is a multifaceted notion where love is only one ingredient; God is both hidden and revealed, and God is both the source of life and detached from the “natural” life of the kosmos. But there are also two cardinal thoughts in the Fourth Gospel: that God reveals himself pre-eminently both as and in the persecuted and dying human being Jesus, and that God is intimately close and caring for those whom he has drawn to himself.The Fourth Gospel is one of the important factors behind the shaping of the Christian church and Western society. This book draws attention to one of the principal roots of the Christian notion of God.

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