4170Re: [John_Lit] Jesus Logos or God Himself
- Feb 10, 2004Dear Frank,
I thank you very for this really learned dissertation. I want to add
only some remarks. The task of the Church has always been and is also
today harmonizing breaks, bridging gaps, saving peace among the sheep
and painting pictures of heavenly unanimity. Therefore The Gopel of
John has been at least for 1800 to 1900 years read in a harmonizing
way. And this was necessary as soon as it was ascribed as a whole to
one and the same holy author (what may have happended already against
the end of the first century). The last open conflicts are visible with
Tertullian’s Adversus Praxeam and Hippolyt’s Philosophoumena, where he
argues against Pope Callistus and especially against Noetus to believe
in a "sonfather", may be, also with the obscure Alogoi. But the task of
critcal historical research is contrary to that of the pastoral efforts
of the Church to uncover especially the gaps and the hidden
contradictions, the conflicts behind the facade and what really had
happend, (Neverftheless I understand myself as a a believer and an
The danger of the first century was of course not Arianism but
Gnosticism with its growing cascades of emanations, the starting point
of which had been the Logos christology and the other terms of the
Logos-hymn (arche, life, light, man, monogenes etc.). At the other hand
the solution of the fourth century as to the Logos was finally reached
on the background of the gnostic idea of the divine pleroma, within
which all divine entities were thought as homoousioi. Within this
concept also the unknown God himself and the Logos-Mediator can be
concieved as homoousioi. But concerning the origin and purpose of our
hellenistic Gospel "of John" we should think still quite simply. There
is an obvious gap between the Logos-hymn and the following text. And my
conviction is that the purpose of this book was to give a narrative
antignostic commentary to this confession-like hymn quoted at the
biginning and already firmly established in the hellenistic church
(grown out of the synagogue of the Alexandrinians etc. in Jerusalem).
You mention the Thomas confession to be also interpretable in harmony
with the Logos christology. Of course, everything is possible but not
verisimilar: Thomas says. "Ho kyrios mou kai ho theos mou!" If you
compare this with Joh 1,1, you realize that "ho theos" with article is
there exactly not the Logos but God himself. In addition we have in
the Gospel also the "I am" sayings (Ego eimi) at the capture of Jesus,
which remind us of the Name of Yahwe in Gen 3,13: "I am who I am". The
Thomas Confession is certainly the summary and the peak of the
christological teaching of this Gospel. In some respect it is the
conterpart to the confession of Peter in Mark (and in my view a later
added reaction to it).
Once more, the prupose of the Gospel was to give the hymnic confession
of faith of the Helleniists quoted at is beginning a new meaning: Its
text should not be underrstood as speking of prexistence and world
creation etc. but from it first line of the historical Jesus and his
revelation. God ("Ho theos") should be understood as Jesus himself and
the Logos as the spoken word of his revelation. This was the intention
of this book. And during the first and fist half of the second century
this strategy seems to have beeen successful and has been adopted also
by the other NT writers.
PS: Because of a journey I shall not be able to continue the dicussion.
Thanks to everybody and good buy!
Am 09.02.2004 um 18:49 schrieb fmmccoy:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Peter.Hofrichter" <Peter.Hofrichter@...>
> To: <email@example.com>
> Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2004 6:05 AM
> Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Jesus Logos or God Himself
>> Am 06.02.2004 um 03:42 schrieb fmmccoy:
>>> In this case, there is no exaltation of Jesus from the Logos to God
>>> in Mark.
>>> Perhaps it's questionable whether this is the case in John either.
>>> would the Johannine community keep the Prologue in John, where Jesus
>>> is the
>>> Logos of God as a personified divine being, if they later exalted him
>>> the Logos to God Himself?
>> The same happend once more in the 4th century. After the
>> Logos-christology was renewed be Justinus Martyr it was accepted by
>> almost all theologians (except certain modalists especially in Asia
>> Minor). But the Logos-Christology was and is incompatible with the
>> godhead of Christ. The Logos is concieved as a being between God and
>> man, between God and his creature, mediator and word of creation.
>> Arius, who was a famous preacher in Alexandria and a consequent
>> montheist and platonist, claimed therefore that the Logos was
>> subordinate to God and that he was created by him before all other
> That a Christological progression from Jesus as the Logos to Jesus as
> occurred in mainstream Christianity in the 4th century doesn't
> mean that a similar Christological progression occurred in the
> community in the 1st century.
> In any event, the position of Arius appears to have been more
> than indicated above, with him distinguishing between the Logos who is
> Son (with this Logos being the Logos described above) and the true
> Logos of
> In Early Arianism-a View of Salvation (Fortress Press), Robert C.
> Gregg and
> Dennis E. Groh state (p. 103), "As the structures of reality are
> drawn by the early Arians, they argue that God's 'true' Reason and
> Wisdom--that is, the Logos and Sophia which belong to his nature
> his intrinsic attributes. Contrary to the charges leveled at them, the
> Arians did not teach that God was ever without *his own* Word and
> Athanasius knows this, for he preserved their doctrine of the one
> which is God's own and exists in him (ten idian kai synyparchousan tw
> distinguishable from the Son, and their parallel doctrine of the Word,
> than the Son, which is in God. The accusation contained in Alexander's
> enclyclical is correct: the Arians say that the Son 'is neither
> similar to
> the father in essence, nor is he truly and by nature (alethinos kai
> the Word of God, nor is he true (alethine) Wisdom...".
>> Other theologians claimed that the Son wass of the same
>> divine "substance" and eternal age as the Father. Also they referred
>> the Gospel of John: Me and the Father are one, who sees Me sees the
> Certainly, these phrases, in John, of, "Me and the Father are one",
> and "Who
> sees Me sees the Father", can be interpreted to mean that Jesus is God.
> However, they are also intepretable in terms of a Logos Christology
> See, for example, Fuga (101), where, regarding the Logos, Philo states,
> "Nay, He is Himself the Image of God, chiefest of all Beings
> perceived, placed nearest, with no intervening distance, to the Alone
> existent One. For we read, 'I will talk with thee from above the
> Mercy-seat, between the two Cherubim' (Ex. xxv. 21), words which shew
> while the Logos is the charioteer of the Powers, He Who talks is
> seated in
> the chariot, giving directions to the charioteer for the right
> wielding of
> the reins of the Universe."
> Here, we see, the Logos is one with God, his Father, in two senses.
> there is "no intervening distance" between the Logos and God, so that,
> some significant sense, they are a single entity. Second, the Logos
> is one
> in will with God, obediently obeying whatever God tells him to do.
> Here, we also see, the Logos is the Image of God, so that, in some
> significant sense, to see the Logos is to see God.
>> We are used to hear always again that
>> the Logos concept is the crown and peak of all Christology. This was
>> originally for ancient people definitely not at all the case.
>> The Logos
>> is clearly less than and subordinate to the one God of Israel and also
>> less than and beneeth the transcendent God of Plato There the Logos is
>> the soul of the cosmos. In Jewish or Christian terms he is the
>> of creation and revelation. And he is necessary because in Platonism
>> the absolutely transcendent God himself has no relation whatsoever
>> the material world except through a mediator. Therfore Philo shows not
>> God, but the Logos speaking in the burnig thorn bush, on the mount
>> Sinai, and so on.
> While Philo's Logos is not Plato's soul of the cosmos, it is important
> note that Philo's Logos does play the same role. In Philo (Vol. 1,
> University Press, pp. 327-28), Harry Austryn Wolfson states, "While the
> residence of the Logos in the corporeal world is conceived by him
> Philo), as we have said, after the analogy of the residence of Plato's
> preexistent mind or soul in the body of the world, still Philo never
> describes the immanent Logos as the mind or the soul of the world. His
> immanent Logos, while performing the same functions as Plato's or the
> Stoics' world-soul, is not a world-soul."
> Also, since Philo's Logos is the One through whom the Cosmos is
> Philo's Logos, even though not Plato's Demiurge, does play the same
> role as
> Plato's Demiurge.
> How does one explain why Philo's Logos plays the role of both Plato's
> Demiurge and world-soul, yet is neither?
> What I suspect is that Philo was influenced by the Middle Platonist,
> of Alexandria.
> As respects the teachings of Eudorus, Jerry Dell Ehrlich states in
> Gift to Christianity (Academic Christian Press, p. 104) that "the
> transcendent God is even further exalted, which was in keeping with the
> general trend within Middle-Platonism that the First Principle of all
> utterly transcendent, and the Creator of the World, the Demiurge, was a
> Second Principle of creation, and the final principle, the third
> element of
> deity, was the World-Soul or World-Spirit. While this is an
> of Plato's own thoughts, it can be understood as an attempt at
> Plato's Absolute One in the Republic with the Father and Maker of the
> Universe in the Timaeus and the Living Creature (Cosmos) or World-Soul
> the Timaeus. While this view had tremendous influence on Philo of
> Alexandria and the forming of the doctrine of the Christian Trinity, it
> seems more likely that Plato himself would not have made a distinction
> between the God beyond being and the Demiurge, the Father and Maker of
> The important point here is that Eudorus did not equate the
> transcendent God
> with the Demiurge, so that there are, in his thought, three divine
> i.e., the transcendent God, the Demiurge, and the World-soul.
> In Philonic thought, the Logos apparently combines the roles of both
> Eudorus' Demiurge and World-Soul. The Cosmos was created through the
> (so that he plays the same role as the Demiurge) and the Cosmos is
> through the Logos, who suffuses himself through the Cosmos, bonding and
> knitting together all its parts (so that he plays the role of the
> Relevant to the discussion is Exodus (Book II, Sect. 68), where Philo
> states, "And from the divine Logos, as from a spring, there divide and
> forth two powers. One is the creative (power), though which the
> placed and ordered all things; this is named 'God.' And (the other
> is) the
> royal (power), since through it the Creator rules over created things;
> is called 'Lord.'"
> I suggest that, here, we have a clue as to how the roles of Eudorus'
> Demiurge and the World-soul came to be assigned to Philo's Logos.
> In particular, there appears to have been an intermediate step in
> which the
> role of Eudorus' Demiurge was assigned to an angelic power called the
> Creative Power and given the title of God and in which the role of
> World-soul was assigned to an angelic power called the Royal Power and
> the title of Lord. This step was presumably taken by an Alexandrian
> possibly, but not necessarily, Philo.
> In the final step, these two angelic powers were taken to be a part of
> very self of the Logos. As a result, they emanate from the Logos like
> streams from a fountain. As these two angelic powers are of the very
> of the Logos, their roles are also the roles of the Logos. This last
> presumably, was taken by Philo.
> This explains why Philo gives the Logos the titles of God and Lord.
> Logos is God because he has the role of "God" (i.e., the Creative
> Power) and
> he is Lord because he has the role of "Lord" (i.e., the Royal Power).
> In this case, the exclamation of Thomas, "My Lord and my God!", can be
> interpreted to be a recognition, on the part of Thomas, that Jesus is
> Logos: who combines, in one divine being, the Royal and Creative
> To conclude, it certainly is the case that, in John, there are some
> statements which can be interpreted to mean that Jesus is God, e.g.,
> declarations that he and the Father are one and that to see him is to
> the Father and Thomas' confession that Jesus is both Lord and God.
> these same statements are also interpretable in terms of a Logos
> Christology. In this case, there is a consistent Logos Christology in
> the Prologue and the main body of John.
> Frank McCoy
> 1809 N. English Apt. 15
> Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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