The Theme of Temple Christology in John's Gospel
In the past most scholars have interpreted water as a symbol for revelation. In this thesis Stephen Um argues against that pervasive view. He believes that the evidence indicates more precisely that the most conventional way of describing water in...
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In the past most scholars have interpreted water as a symbol for revelation. In this thesis Stephen Um argues against that pervasive view. He believes that the evidence indicates more precisely that the most conventional way of describing water in early Judaism was the life-giving usage (e.g. original Eden, the present age, and the new creational age). He goes on in Chapter 3 to examine the concept of `Spirit' and his findings refute the restrictive definition which some scholars have advocated: `Spirit' is shown to be a powerful agent for creative and eschatological life rather than a mere communicative organ inspiring charismatic revelation or prophecy. John not only recognized the strong Jewish association of water and Spirit with the future new creation but also remarkably combined these two distinct Jewish traditions to produce the image of Spirit as the source of eschatological life. Water, representing a supply of abundant life, was developed by the Deutero-Isaiah passages and by eschatological Temple references (Ezek 47:1-12; Joel 4:18; Zech 14:8), describing a new creational place of blessedness. Um posits that if a person experiences the reality of eschatological life by the new creational power of the Spirit, then that individual would be able to participate in the exclusive worship of God because he or she recognizes the unique divine identity of God, who is Spirit.
This study not only carefully investigates the Jewish tradition of water and Spirit as the normative background of John 4, but also develops temple Christology by connecting these distinct traditions of water and the Spirit as eschatological life for John's use of Spirit as the source of new creational life.The aim of this thesis is to answer the following three crucial questions in order to sustain the development of the temple Christological theme in John 4: 1) What does the image of water represent?; 2) What does it mean to worship in Spirit and truth?, and 3) How do the disparate parts (water scene [4:6-15] and the Spirit scene [4:20-26]) function as a whole?
The Reverend Dr. Stephen Um is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div; Th.M.), and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland (Ph.D.). He teaches at Gordon-Conwell as a lecturer of New Testament. A
- Introduction; Water: A Life-giving Symbol In Early Jewish Literature; The Concept Of Spirit In Early Jewish Literature; Thematic Analysis Of John 4:6-26; Chapter 1.; Chapter 2.; Chapter 3.; Chapter 4.