- At last the Masters thesis I completed at the end of last year (actually,
last century!!) has been marked. The mark given via the Theology
Consortium office is A- (around 78%). Official confirmation from the
University should arrive soon.
So after all that, I wish to thank all those who put up with my constant
questioning and probing. You helped me along the way in getting this work
finished, and were properly acknowledged in the introduction.
The final title of the essay was "The Holy Spirit (PNEUMA) in the
Pre-Easter Ministry of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel."
The Abstract / Synopsis is included below.
Once again, thanks for all who contributed so thoughtfully. Now its on
with parish life ... and on to ordination.
Matamata Union Parish
Since the time of Clement of Alexandria, the Fourth Gospel has been
understood as being a 'spiritual Gospel'. From the first appearance of
Jesus at the Jordan river with John the Baptist, to the giving of the
Spirit after the resurrection, the Pneuma is connected with Jesus
throughout the Gospel, making the Fourth Gospel's Pneumatology a factor of
its Christology. This thesis examines John's use of the word PNEUMA as it
relates to the (Holy) Spirit, the Spirit of God, in Jesus' pre-Easter ministry.
In chapter one an examination is made of the background uses of the word
'spirit' in Greek and Hebrew understandings, and goes on to briefly look at
how the Hebrew ideas were cast into Greek language in the
Septuagint. Consideration is then given to the use of PNEUMA in the
Synoptics, as well as in the Fourth Gospel, briefly highlighting the
differences between them. Two specifically Johannine questions are then
addressed; the relationship of the Pneuma to the Paraclete, and the Fourth
Gospel's use of the literary devices of 'misunderstanding' and 'double
meaning' as they relate to the Pneuma material.
Chapter two examines the texts themselves, seeking to determine the meaning
of PNEUMA in each passage and how that might relate to the pre-Easter
ministry of Jesus. This exegesis is done under several general themes
which emerge within the study; the giving of the Pneuma to Jesus, the
antitheses to the Pneuma ('flesh' and 'the world'), the promise of Pneuma,
Johannine concepts of giving the Pneuma through symbol or metaphor, the
action of the Pneuma in relation to the ongoing ministry of Jesus, the
Pneuma given to the disciples, and finally a section of the pneuma passages
dealing with Jesus' human spirit and emotions.
The final chapter examines all this data, drawing together the key themes
found in the exegesis. Comparisons between the Synoptics and the Fourth
Gospel are considered. The Spirit as a sign of Jesus' Messiahship, and as
empowerment for his ministry, is also analysed, as are the wide variety of
aspects of the giving of the Spirit to both Jesus and believers. Finally
the theme of the Promise of the Spirit in the post-resurrection future of
the Gospel is examined.
This thesis concludes that the Spirit is a vital part of the pre-Easter
ministry of Jesus, both as given to Jesus, and as offered to others. It is
given for the empowerment of Jesus' ministry and to signify that he is
God's chosen one. The Spirit is also spoken of in a future sense as Jesus
promises the Spirit to believers after he is glorified. In this way the
Spirit is essential to Jesus' pre-Easter ministry as both a present power
for Jesus, and a promise for the future of believers.
Nigel & Rebecca Hanscamp
18 Buchanan Street