Re: [John_Lit] Mysticism vs. Evolution of high Christology
- James McGrath wrote:
>Only John's Gospel presents Jesus as speaking of having 'come down fromThat is a difficult question, but I don't think
>heaven'. Does this go back to the historical Jesus? If so, why did the
>other Gospels not mention it?
that a 'less developed Christology at the time of
writing' answers it. I'm inclined to Mark
Matson's view that the variations between authors
don't indicate a general trend. As far as GMark
goes, he does at the very beginning describe
Jesus as '*The* Son of God' with no apparent need
There may be a slight difference between the bold
Christological assertions of Paul in his letters
to the Colossians or the Philippians and John,
but the Logos Christology seems to be there, so
the post Pauline doctrine can't add much. In the
entire Pauline literature, there is no trace of a
Christological controversy. Paul never evaded a
difficulty where purity of doctrine was
concerned, so this question seems to have been
firmly settled at the time of Paul's writing; it
was not one of the controversies then. Even if
the Logos Christology isn't in the synoptics, it
seems to be in Paul.
I don't believe that John is a mystic; I don't
believe that the Johannine Jesus is a mystic.
John's gospel becomes mystical only when Christ's
human form is confused with His Divine Humanity.
The leading theme 'we saw his glory' would be
mystical / docetic if it were taken to mean that
they perceived it directly. But I believe that
neither John nor Paul are mystics. For both, the
main thing is faith in a personal Mediator.
Mysticism always seems connected with the self
movement of man towards God, bypassing the
> There is a famous Sufi mystic al-Hallaj whoI believe that this is an example of the self
>reportedly said (in very Johannine fashion) 'I
>am the truth/ultimate reality'. He was crucified
>for this, as it happens. From a Sufi
>perspective, however, the words were not
>illegitimate, because they do not represent an
>arrogant claim, but a self-emptying one, so that
>one's own 'I' is lost in God.
movement of man; namely, a form of mysticism. It
exhibits a self confident optimism (self
emptying) so there is only an apparent lack of
arrogance. I believe that it is the opposite of
what John and Paul are writing about.
All the best,
John M. Noble