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[John_Lit] John 1:1-18, Col. 1:15-20 and GTh 77

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  • James McGrath
    Dear Frank, The development of christology is an area that particularly fascinates me. My PhD research was precisely on the origins and development of John s
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 10, 2001
      Dear Frank,

      The development of christology is an area that
      particularly fascinates me. My PhD research was
      precisely on the origins and development of John's
      Christology and its links to and development of
      earlier ideas and traditions. Even after spending
      years on a topic, there is still so much left unsaid
      and so many questions left unanswered! My particular
      area of interest now relates to this topic - the
      question of early Jewish and Christian monotheism. It
      seems clear that, regardless of whether they would
      have understood themselves to have a common viewpoint
      or would have made sharp distinctions between their
      views, Jews like the first Christians accepted the
      possibility of something like the Logos or Wisdom
      bridging the gap between God and creation. The similar
      language that John and Philo use (with God...was God;
      neither uncreated...nor created) convinces me that
      there is at least a common underlying worldview at
      this point; I imagine the language of Wisdom as the
      beginning of creation, so that sometimes she appears
      to be part of the created order, while at other times
      it is clear that she predates creation, is part of the
      same world of ideas. This seems to me to be one
      characteristic of early Jewish (and Christian
      monotheism), and one reason why there was no conflict
      (even in John) over the possibility of there being
      such a thing as the Logos.

      As to whether these various authors would have
      understood themselves to all be speaking about the
      same thing, it is probably impossible to know. Some
      Christians would consider the Muslim God Allah to be
      the same monotheistic God as Jews and Christians
      worship although they would differ as to how he is to
      be conceived of and understood; others would say they
      are not the same. Muslims and Jews likewise differ on
      their view of Christians - some would say we worship
      the same God as them and just have some strange
      notions about the Trinity, others would say that the
      difference is so great that we are no longer
      worshipping the one true God of monotheism. It is very
      possible that such differences existed in the first
      century as well, and that Wisdom and Logos meant
      rather different things to different people, even
      within the same basic tradition.

      Thanks again for this stimulating line of thought and
      conversation!

      Looking forward to conversing more about this,

      James McGrath







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