Help with "John and Postmodern Culture"
- View SourceCan anyone point me to articles or books that would help with this question:
What does the Gospel of John mean for a postmodern culture?
I am a reference librarian in a seminary library. This is the question that a
seminary professor has assigned a small group of students. I thought I had a
good handle on Johannine studies up to a point, and a decent understanding of
what "postmodern" means (absence of an overarching cultural narrative, for
example), but when I try to bring these two into conversation, I find my
imagination is somewhat limited. Has someone attempted a similar project
Due West, SC
Bob MacDonald wrote:
> Frank - thanks for the full reply. You ask:
> >> why you think that John 6 should be interpreted from a non-dualistic
> I am simply finding that the words soul, spirit, heart, body etc are being
> used as a symbol for you, or me, or us collectively, and each in a unity of
> our selves.
> My understanding of the Hebrew word translated as soul is that it means our
> life - the sum total of our bodily trace in time. I am not speculative on
> before and after birth or death as some are because before and after are not
> aspects of the eternal. I find the traditional interpretation of eternity
> after Aquinas, eternity = no term either end, to be lacking in scope if
> interpreted linearly.
> >From what you say, Philo seems more easily interpreted as dualistic, and
> Paul and John both use words that can be interpreted as dualistic or
> tri-partite in their anthropology. I do not find this decompositional view
> consonant with either my experience or the teaching of Tanach and NT as I
> have come to know it.
> Nanos, in his Mystery of Romans, finds a unifying theme of the Shema in that
> letter. I read John in the same way. As God is One, so are we one in him. As
> God is one, so is the Son in the bosom of the Father one with the Father -
> to have seen one is to have seen the other. Each declares the other. Each
> glorifies the other. For us who have not Jesus in the flesh, the seal of the
> Spirit teaches us the same unifying truth, giving us the things that belong
> to Jesus. So we are One in Christ - body soul spirit heart mind or whatever
> other shattered image you wish to apply to me/you in any one passing moment.
> The life that is eternal is characteristic of our life in the Son. I do not
> know what I shall be; but I know what I am and there is no part of what I am
> that is not unified in the one whom I shall know in whatever comes.
> So Philo's mind within the man, better part within the worse - is to me a
> denigration of the created order and a negation of redemption. I don't find
> a shadow of this in John or Paul's writing.
> Paul writing to the Thessalonians may have been reduced to the tri-partite
> formula because that was the way the Greeks understood - but he says 'spirit
> and soul and body' - all together. In this he is making a unity out of their
> Does John give us an anthropology? This needs to be investigated. (I think
> the light-darkness theme might be revealing of his anthropology - this image
> has no relation to body-soul-spirit partitioning; also the 'knowing'
> verses.) My reference to the Spirit as seal of the Father of the Son
> indicates a unity in the Son of Man and with the Father - this unity is
> mentioned repeatedly in the gospel (chapters 1,6,14-17 without doing
> detailed work on it). You appeal to tenting as suggesting dualism. I think
> you are imposing a dualism because of words. The image is of God in the
> desert tabernacling with us, God with us, completing us as his creation, as
> his bride, as his dwelling. Perhaps our unity across the ages is greater
> than we imagine - so the communion of saints, a temple not made with hands.
> (The first four verses of the prologue pick up this multiplicity of unity
> from many directions.)
> >>What is this "heart" that one possesses and that can be sealed by the
> Spirit/Wisdom, so that it comes to conform to the Image of God?<<
> When you ask a 'what is' question, you imply that by taking apart, we can
> understand who we are. I think such decomposition is only one way of
> understanding and it is limited. Also I don't think we possess our hearts as
> if we could stand outside ourselves. And I don't think the Spirit seals our
> hearts - the Son of Man is sealed corporately, sensually, bodily, wholly. In
> our sealing (I surmise per the Pauline texts in the earlier posts) - we
> receive of his fullness (1:16), in Paul's terms, the body for the Lord,
> every thought captive; in John's terms, "eating his flesh and drinking his
> blood", knowing the Father and Jesus Christ whom he sent. No dualism here in
> the sense of separable parts.
> There is much in your posts that gives insight into first century
> Alexandrine thought - again thanks for your special knowledge of Philo.
> + + + Victoria, B.C., Canada + + +
> Catch the foxes for us,
> the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards,
> for our vineyards are in flower. (Song 2.15)
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