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Help with "John and Postmodern Culture"

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  • Fred Guyette
    Can 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2002
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      Can 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
      already?

      Thank You,
      Fred Guyette
      Erskine Seminary
      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
      > perspective?
      >
      > 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
      > disunity.
      >
      > 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.
      >
      > Bob
      >
      > mailto::BobMacDonald@...
      > + + + 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)
      > http://bobmacdonald.gx.ca
      >
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