The Preexistence of Jesus in the Gospel of John

The Zurichers have a neat post today you’ll be interested in taking a read through:

9783110408737Recently, de Guyter published my book Die Präexistenz Jesu im Johannesevangelium. Struktur und Theologie eines johanneischen Motivs, which is a revised version of my PhD dissertation (Humboldt-University Berlin). In this blogpost, I shall present my findings, highlighting some central aspects, especially the role of temporality for John’s notion of preexistence.

The Gospel of John has been said to dare the impossible, the “quadrature of the circle”. The German theologian Karl-Josef Kuschel used this metaphor for characterising the Johannine attempt of narrating the un-tellable.[1] John tells us a story about the preexistent Christ – that is, John transforms an idea connected to eternity and nontemporality into a narrative line connected to temporality.[2] Kuschel calls this the “verwegene Synthese”[3] (daring synthesis), where John synthesizes a story of Jesus and the concept of preexistence, both of which occur, outside of John, only in separate texts. The Synoptic Gospels have at least no explicit reference to preexistence,[4] but start with Jesus’s baptism (Mark) or his virginal conception (Luke and Matthew). Preexistence outside of John is attested only in short, hymn-like passages or formulae within the epistolary literature (Phil 2, Col 1 and others) and Revelation.


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