John the Theologian and his Paschal Gospel
A Prologue to Theology
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 408
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
This study brings three different kinds of readers of the Gospel of John together with the theological goal of understanding what is meant by Incarnation and how it relates to Pascha, the Passion of Christ, how this is conceived of as revelation, and how we speak of it. The first group of readers are the Christian writers from the early centuries, some of whom (such as Irenaeus of Lyons) stood in direct continuity, through Polycarp of Smyrna, with John himself. In exploring these writers, John Behr offers a glimpse of the figure of John and the celebration of Pascha, which held to have started with him. The second group of readers are modern scriptural scholars, from whom we learn of the apocalyptic dimensions of John's Gospel and the way in which it presents the life of Christ in terms of the Temple and its feasts. With Christ's own body, finally erected on the Cross, being the true Temple in an offering of love rather than a sacrifice for sin. An offering in which Jesus becomes the flesh he offers for consumption, the bread which descends from heaven, so that 'incarnation' is not an event now in the past, but the embodiment of God in those who follow Christ in the present. The third reader is Michel Henry, a French Phenomenologist, whose reading of John opens up further surprising dimensions of this Gospel, which yet align with those uncovered in the first parts of this work. This thought-provoking work brings these threads together to reflect on the nature and task of Christian theology.
This is an important, highly learned work on the reception of John's Gospel and the ways that its message shape both theology and Christian practice. Scholars, theologians, and historians of interpretation will be edified by this book, as it pertains to the ways that different communities read the same scripture differently, as well as the way that the book illuminates relationships between interpretation, theology, and practice as it pertains to the Gospel of John. * Aaron Klink, Religious Studies Review * The three parts of the work are thus engaged with a different body of scholarship - historical investigation, scriptuarl exegesis, and philosophical reflection- which are brought together in the conclusion with a constructive theological purpose, such that the work is understood as itself a prologue to theology. * New Testament Abstracts * The book raises many fine points of dialogue that are engaging and worth exploring in detail. Remarkably, Behr manages to work through his three diverse approaches while maintaining his own larger coherent argument, in itself a real achievement. * James D. Romano, Reviews in Biblical Literature * In this impressive work, Behr leads readers through John's Gospel as a guide. What he accomplishes in the pages of this book is tremendous, and each bend in the road, though sometimes unexpected, is valuable. * Madison N. Pierce, Trinity Journal * Behr has produced a staggering accomplishment of disciplinary synthesis, as well as theological and exegetical creativity and erudition. * Paul D. Wheatley, The Living Church * John Behr has long warranted appreciation as a translator and reader of early Christian texts. In this book, he proves himself to be an imaginative and bold theologian in his own right. * Michael Allen, International Journal of Systematic Theology * What he accomplishes in the pages of this book is tremendous, and each bend in the road, though sometimes unexpected, is valuable. * Madison N. Pierce, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity Journal * With its rich combination of disciplines, scholars in varied fields would profit from reading John the Theologian * Owen Kelly, Southeastern Theological Review * For those readers who are seeking to ask theological questions of the biblical texts, Behr's work will provide much to digest. It serves as an example of theological interpretation of scripture, of the highest order. * Jonathan Rowlands, Biblical and Early Christian Studies * ...the Gospel has generated numerous strong readings using a variety of lenses - historical, literary, theological - to provide new insights into the text's profoundly alluring and sometimes baffling story of Jesus. John Behr's volume adds yet another of these strong readings, offering a view of the Gospelthat roots it firmly in early Christian history and Biblical exegesis, explores its literary dynamics, and articulates in contemporary terms what Behr sees as its central theological claims. Any serious student of the Fourth Gospel will want to engage with Behr's argument. * Harold W. Attridge, Yale University, Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology * Behr has provided profound new insight into the cruciformity of John's vision, an apocalyptic eschatology in which the Son of Man's own end, the "lifting up," the exaltation on the cross, was already humanity's true beginning and destiny, the "life that was the light of all people." * Paul M. Blowers, Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan University, Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology * My overall response to reading this book is one of overwhelming enthusiasm; it certainly marks a new stage in Orthodox theology...Altogether, this is a remarkable achievement. * Andrew Louth, University of Durham, Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology * Behr's work effectively and critically draws together scholarly discourses that are usually (and, for the most part, lamentably) kept apart....One of the most impressive features of the book is the depth of Behr's critical engagement with these fields on their own terms. * Paul Saieg, University of Notre Dame, USA, Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology * This book traverses biblical scholarship and patristic literature with ease. As if that were not enough, in the final two chapters Behr also engages the contemporary phenomenological tradition, specifically the work of Michel Henry, the late French philosopher who sought to ground his phenomenology of life in foundational Christian texts, including the Gospel of John. * Charles M. Stang, Harvard Divinity School, Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology * With John the Theologian and His Paschal Gospel, John Behr offers us a book so rich... that summarizing it is beyond our capacity. Let the well-intentioned reader not be discouraged, however: brilliant synthetic statements helping you to better situate yourself in the journey in which you are embarked are not sparse in the book...Rather than trying to produce the synthesis missing in the book, I would like to stress from the outset that with this magnum opus, John Behr invites his readers (hopefully many of them biblical scholars) to a real (at least intellectual) conversion: start with the invisible, not the visible. * Olivier-Thomas Venard, OP, Ecole biblique et archeologique francaise de Jerusalem, Israel, Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology * A Prologue to Theology is an opus magnum that needs to be studied thoroughly in today's theology departments and seminaries around the globe and which invites, if not demands, further theological investigation along this initiated path. * Thomas Sojer, Phenomenological Reviews *